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Limited dietary interventions in rural Australian communities: a systematic review
journal contributionposted on 2021-01-01, 00:00 authored by Laura AlstonLaura Alston, S R Partridge
Aim: This review aimed to synthesise the evidence on the effectiveness of dietary interventions targeting adolescents (>13 years) and adults living in rural or remote Australia. Methods: Six electronic databases were searched to identify dietary interventions undertaken in rural or remote communities. Studies were included if they utilised intervention and control comparisons or pre and post assessment of diet-related outcomes. If studies included metropolitan populations, dietary outcome measures had to be provided separately for rural data. Results: In total, 14 articles from 12 unique studies met the criteria for inclusion and together provided incomplete coverage across all states of Australia, included intervention studies targeted diet to address obesity, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure or diabetes. No studies were focussed on reducing community malnutrition. All studies, with one exception, focussed specifically on rural adults, no interventions specifically targeted adolescents in rural areas. Only two studies documented the involvement of a dietitian in intervention development or delivery. All studies produced a significant outcome for either dietary intake, body mass index, waist circumference, or diet related biomedical risk factors for individuals located in rural or remote areas of Australia. Conclusion: Dietary interventions in rural Australia are under-studied, especially among the adolescent population. This is despite the high level of preventable diet-related disease burden in rural and remote Australia. Existing evidence shows promise in improving dietary intakes, but further, large scale intervention research, with the involvement of dietitians, is urgently needed to improve the health of rural communities.