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      Indigenous Australians Perceptions’ of Physical Activity: A Qualitative Systematic Review

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          Given poorer health and higher rates of chronic disease seen in Indigenous populations around the world and the evidence linking exercise with health and wellbeing, recommendations for encouraging and increasing Indigenous people’s participation in physical activity are needed. This paper systematically reviews published qualitative research papers exploring issues related to the perspectives of Indigenous Australians around physical activity. Key terms relevant to attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of Indigenous Australians on physical activity and sport were explored in 11 electronic bibliographic databases including EMBASE, Medline and Web of Science. Of the 783 studies screened, eight qualitative studies met the selection criteria; only one was exclusively undertaken in a rural setting. Four major themes emerged: family and community, culture and environment, sport, and gender differences. Men highlighted sport and going on walkabout as preferred types of physical activity while women preferred family-focused activities and activities and support for women's sport. Several studies found exercise was supported when in the context of family and community but was considered shameful when done only for oneself. Sport was regarded as playing an influential role in bringing communities together. Group, community, or family activities were desired forms of physical activity with the environment they are conducted in of high importance. These findings should inform future research and intervention programs aimed at addressing the physical activity levels of Indigenous Australians and may be relevant to other Indigenous populations.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement.

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            Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity.

            This review highlights recent work evaluating the relationship between exercise, physical activity and physical and mental health. Both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, as well as randomized clinical trials, are included. Special attention is given to physical conditions, including obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease and sexual dysfunction. Furthermore, studies relating physical activity to depression and other mood states are reviewed. The studies include diverse ethnic populations, including men and women, as well as several age groups (e.g. adolescents, middle-aged and older adults). Results of the studies continue to support a growing literature suggesting that exercise, physical activity and physical-activity interventions have beneficial effects across several physical and mental-health outcomes. Generally, participants engaging in regular physical activity display more desirable health outcomes across a variety of physical conditions. Similarly, participants in randomized clinical trials of physical-activity interventions show better health outcomes, including better general and health-related quality of life, better functional capacity and better mood states. The studies have several implications for clinical practice and research. Most work suggests that exercise and physical activity are associated with better quality of life and health outcomes. Therefore, assessment and promotion of exercise and physical activity may be beneficial in achieving desired benefits across several populations. Several limitations were noted, particularly in research involving randomized clinical trials. These trials tend to involve limited sample sizes with short follow-up periods, thus limiting the clinical implications of the benefits associated with physical activity.
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              Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: a review of reviews.

               Mavis Asare,  S Biddle (2011)
              To synthesise reviews investigating physical activity and depression, anxiety, self-esteem and cognitive functioning in children and adolescents and to assess the association between sedentary behaviour and mental health by performing a brief review. Searches were performed in 2010. Inclusion criteria specified review articles reporting chronic physical activity and at least one mental health outcome that included depression, anxiety/stress, self-esteem and cognitive functioning in children or adolescents. Four review articles reported evidence concerning depression, four for anxiety, three for self-esteem and seven for cognitive functioning. Nine primary studies assessed associations between sedentary behaviour and mental health. Physical activity has potentially beneficial effects for reduced depression, but the evidence base is limited. Intervention designs are low in quality, and many reviews include cross-sectional studies. Physical activity interventions have been shown to have a small beneficial effect for reduced anxiety, but the evidence base is limited. Physical activity can lead to improvements in self-esteem, at least in the short term. However, there is a paucity of good quality research. Reviews on physical activity and cognitive functioning have provided evidence that routine physical activity can be associated with improved cognitive performance and academic achievement, but these associations are usually small and inconsistent. Primary studies showed consistent negative associations between mental health and sedentary behaviour. Association between physical activity and mental health in young people is evident, but research designs are often weak and effects are small to moderate. Evidence shows small but consistent associations between sedentary screen time and poorer mental health.

                Author and article information

                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                14 July 2018
                July 2018
                : 15
                : 7
                Western Australian Centre for Rural Health, University of Western Australia. P.O. Box 109, Geraldton WA 6531, Australia; dahlbrg2@ (E.E.D.); sandy.hamilton@ (S.J.H.); fatuma.hamid4@ (F.H.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: sandra.thompson@ ; Tel.: +61-8-9956-0208
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (



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