Participation in sport and physical activity could minimise the inflated risk of poor physical health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents. This review aims to combine existing literature regarding barriers and facilitators to physical activity and sports participation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Literature was systematically searched to include studies reporting barriers or facilitators to physical activity and/or sports participation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–18 years. Using a pre-established taxonomy based on the social-ecological model, a deductive analysis was performed. Quality appraisal was performed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.
Of 3440 unique articles, nine studies were included with 10,061 total participants. Of the nine included studies one reported on participants from urban areas, two from regional and three from remote areas. Three were from representative samples of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Barriers were reported in all nine studies: 18 individual, 9 interpersonal, 27 community and 4 at the policy level; Facilitators were reported in five studies: 12 individual, 11 interpersonal, 11 community and 3 policy level.
Research in this area is lacking with some states in Australia not represented and small samples. Strategies for improving participation in sport and physical activity by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents need to integrate a comprehensive identification of barriers and facilitators with a social-ecological understanding of how community and cultural factors can impact individual participation.