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Int J Prev Med. 2012 Apr;3(4):230-40.

Preventing a Cardiovascular Disease Epidemic among Indigenous Populations through Lifestyle Changes.

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  • 1School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the driving force behind the discrepancy in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous groups in many countries. Preceding CVD many indigenous groups exhibit a cluster of cardiometabolic risk factors, including overweight-obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. In turn, modifiable lifestyle risk factors contribute to the development of this cluster of cardiometabolic conditions. Modifiable lifestyle risk factors include, but are not limited to, physical inactivity, poor nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoking. Notably, these metabolic and lifestyle risk factors are relatively simple to monitor and track. The current review will look at modifiable cardiometabolic (overweight-obesity, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and lifestyle (physical inactivity, poor nutrition, risky alcohol behavior, and cigarette smoking) risk factors among indigenous populations from Australia (Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders), New Zealand (Māori) and the United States (Native Americans). Discussion will focus on the causal relationship between modifiable lifestyle risk factors and cardiometabolic outcomes, as well as, simple measurements for tracking these risk factors.


Aboriginal Australian; Heart disease; Maori; Native American; endothelial dysfunction

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