Concerns and priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regarding food and nutrition: a systematic review of qualitative evidence.

BioMed Central
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal for Equity in Health, 2021, 20, (1), pp. 1-19
Issue Date:
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BACKGROUND: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians experience persistent health and social inequities. Chronic conditions, many of which are diet-related, are leading contributors to the burden of disease and health inequity in Australia. First Nations Peoples have the right to be involved in all policy decisions affecting them. This review aimed to synthesise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' concerns and priorities about food and nutrition in order to inform policies to improve health equity. METHODS: MEDLINE, CINAHL, Informit and Google Scholar were systematically searched to identify qualitative studies-published from January 2008-that included data from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples about their concerns and priorities related to food and nutrition. Data were extracted from included studies using a pre-determined template and study quality was assessed using the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Quality Appraisal Tool. Qualitative findings were synthesised using inductive thematic analysis and categorised based on an ecological model of health. RESULTS: Twenty-one studies were included. Key factors influencing food and nutrition were identified across all levels of the ecological framework. These included interpersonal and institutional racism, junk food availability and marketing, food accessibility and affordability, housing conditions, food knowledge and cooking skills, and connection to family and culture. CONCLUSIONS: Documenting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' lived experiences of the colonised food system is one step necessary for informing policy to tackle food and nutrition inequities. Based on existing qualitative research, food and nutrition policymakers should prioritise building a supportive food environment by focusing on self-determination; ensuring access to healthy, affordable food and safe housing; and by eliminating systemic racism.
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