Objective: To describe the main characteristics of systematic reviews addressing questions of chronic disease and related risk factors for Indigenous Australians.
Methods: We searched databases for systematic reviews meeting inclusion criteria. Two reviewers assessed quality and extracted characteristics using pre‐defined tools.
Results: We identified 14 systematic reviews. Seven synthesised evidence about health intervention effectiveness; four addressed chronic disease or risk factor prevalence; and six conducted critical appraisal as per current best practice. Only three reported steps to align the review with standards for ethical research with Indigenous Australians and/or capture Indigenous‐specific knowledge. Most called for more high‐quality research.
Conclusion: Systematic review is an under‐utilised method for gathering evidence to inform chronic disease prevention and management for Indigenous Australians. Relevance of future systematic reviews could be improved by: 1) aligning questions with community priorities as well as decision maker needs; 2) involvement of, and leadership by, Indigenous researchers with relevant cultural and contextual knowledge; iii) use of critical appraisal tools that include traditional risk of bias assessment criteria and criteria that reflect Indigenous standards of appropriate research.
Implications: Systematic review method guidance, tools and reporting standards are required to ensure alignment with ethical obligations and promote rigor and relevance.