A systematic review of interventions to increase physical activity among South Asian adults

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health
Early online date6 Jul 2018
StatePublished - Sep 2018


Objective: To: (i) identify interventions aimed at increasing physical activity (PA) levels among
South Asian (SA) adults, and (ii) identify the specific changes in the content and delivery mode of interventions designed to increase PA levels among SA people aged 18+.
Design: A systematic review of quantitative studies.
Data synthesis: Extracted data were synthesised using a narrative approach.
Data sources: Multiple electronic databases were searched - ASSIA, CINHAL, EMBASE, Medline,
SPORTDiscus and PsychINFO. Included papers met the following criteria: 1) population: community dwelling SA adults, aged 18 years and older 2) outcome: reporting determinants of PA, exercise, or combination of the two measured objectively or using self-report. The search was restricted to English language articles published up to 31st January 2017.
Results: 15 trials/programmes (16 papers) met the review criteria. The findings show that involving the target community in developing culturally appropriate interventions appears to be important in their acceptability, delivery and take-up. Using community-based participation in intervention planning, evaluation and research appears to produce culturally and linguistically tailored interventions that address core values, attitudes, beliefs and norms and encourage participation in PA. Further, the
use of community health workers and underpinning the interventions with a psychological theory show promise in increasing PA uptake.
Conclusions: This systematic review suggests that making cultural adaptations to PA interventions shows promise, but the evidence base presented currently is not strong. This does not mean that adopting such an approach is ineffective, but that the evidence base is currently lacking.


  • physical activity, South Asians, systematic review