Perceptions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians toward cardiovascular primary prevention programs: A qualitative systematic review

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Public Health Nursing


Objective: To synthesize the best available qualitative evidence on the perceptions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (hereafter, respectfully referred to as Indigenous Australians) toward participation in cardiovascular primary prevention programs. Background: In 2017, cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of premature mortality in Indigenous Australians, accounting for 11.5% of all deaths. Health risk behaviors such as smoking, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, and obesity largely contribute to this burden of disease. Methods: A search using MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PubMed, Google Scholar, MedNar, ProQuest and Index to Theses for published and unpublished studies was conducted in January 2020. The methodological quality of the included studies was independently assessed by two reviewers using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) critical appraisal tool. Data extraction and meta-aggregation were conducted in accordance with JBI methodology. Results: Eleven studies were included. Three synthesized findings were developed (a) social and community support affect participants’ experiences of prevention programs; (b) structural drivers and social determinants influence Indigenous Australians experiences and participation in prevention programs and health risk behavioral change; and (c) a personal desire to change behaviors and participate in prevention programs requires development of knowledge regarding healthy lifestyles and creation of new social norms. Conclusions: Indigenous Australians participation in primary prevention for cardiovascular risk factors and adoption of a healthy lifestyle are influenced by social support, social determinants, and personal desire. Future programs need to tackle the structural drivers and facilitate a supportive environment to assist in health risk behavior change.

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