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Annu Rev Public Health. 2011;32:327-47. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103557.

Environmental risk conditions and pathways to cardiometabolic diseases in indigenous populations.

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Social Epidemiology and Evaluation Research Unit, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia.


This review examines environments in relation to cardiometabolic diseases in Indigenous populations in developed countries. Environmental factors are framed in terms of context (features of places) and composition (features of populations). Indigenous peoples are seen to have endured sociopolitical marginalization and material disadvantage spanning generations. Past adverse collective experiences, modified by culture, are reflected by current heterogeneity in environmental context and composition. As risk conditions, unfavorable contextual and compositional exposures influence the expression of cardiometabolic risk for individuals. Minimal research has evaluated heterogeneity in risk conditions against heterogeneity in cardiometabolic diseases between or within Indigenous populations. Thus far, the features of populations, not of places themselves, have been implicated in relation to cardiometabolic diseases. Behavioral, psychosocial, and stress-axis pathways may explain the relationships between risk conditions and cardiometabolic diseases. Implications of environmental factors and their pathways as well as important research needs are discussed in relation to ecological prevention to reduce cardiometabolic diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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