Publications & Reports

Potential Determinants of Cardio-Metabolic Risk among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review.

McKay CD, O'Bryan E, Gubhaju L, McNamara B, Gibberd AJ, Azzopardi P, Eades S
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia.


Prevention initiatives during childhood and adolescence have great potential to address the health inequities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) populations in Australia by targeting modifiable risk factors for cardio-metabolic diseases. We aimed to synthesize existing evidence about potential determinants of cardio-metabolic risk markers-obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, abnormal lipids, or a clustering of these factors known as the metabolic syndrome (MetS)-for Indigenous children and adolescents. We systematically searched six databases for journal articles and three websites for relevant grey literature. Included articles (n = 47) reported associations between exposures (or interventions) and one or more of the risk markers among Indigenous participants aged 0-24 years. Data from 18 distinct studies about 41 exposure-outcome associations were synthesized (by outcome: obesity [n = 18]; blood pressure [n = 9]; glucose, insulin or diabetes [n = 4]; lipids [n = 5]; and MetS [n = 5]). Obesity was associated with each of the other cardio-metabolic risk markers. Larger birth size and higher area-level socioeconomic status were associated with obesity; the latter is opposite to what is observed in the non-Indigenous population. There were major gaps in the evidence for other risk markers, as well as by age group, geography, and exposure type. Screening for risk markers among those with obesity and culturally appropriate obesity prevention initiatives could reduce the burden of cardio-metabolic disease.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Published: 27/07/2022
  • Volume: 19
  • Issue: 15