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A systematic review of physical activity levels in Native American populations in Canada and the United States in the last 50 years

Authors

  • H. J. A. Foulds,

    1. Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, Physical Activity Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    2. Experimental Medicine Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • D. E. R. Warburton,

    1. Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, Physical Activity Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    2. Experimental Medicine Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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  • S. S. D. Bredin

    Corresponding author
    1. Systematic Reviews Research Laboratory, Physical Activity Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    • Cognitive and Functional Learning Laboratory, Physical Activity Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit, School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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Address for correspondence: Dr. SSD Bredin, School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, 6108 Thunderbird Blvd, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z3.

E-mail: shannon.bredin@ubc.ca

Summary

Physical activity is beneficial for many chronic conditions. However, activity levels of Native Americans are not well known. This systematic review investigated if Native American populations achieve the recommended physical activity levels, compared current and past activity levels, and assessed the ability of exercise training programmes to improve health outcomes among this population. Electronic databases (e.g. MEDLINE, EMBASE) were searched and citations were cross-referenced. Included articles reported physical activity levels or investigations among Native Americans. This search identified 89 articles: self-report (n = 61), accelerometry and pedometry (n = 10), metabolic monitoring (n = 10) and physical activity interventions (n = 17). Few adults were found to meet the physical activity recommendations (27.2% [95% confidence interval = 26.9–27.5%] self-report, 9% [4–14%] accelerometry). Among children/youth, 26.5% (24.6–28.4%) (self-report) to 45.7% (42.3–49.1%) (pedometry/accelerometry) met the recommendations. Adults and children/youth were generally identified as physically inactive (via doubly labelled water). Overall, Native American adults reported lower activity levels since 2000, compared to 1990s, although similar to 1980s. Few physical activity interventions employed strong methodologies, large sample sizes and objective outcome measures. There is a clear need to increase Native American populations' physical activity. Additional research is required to evaluate exercise training programmes among this population.

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