This resource sheet focuses on physical activity and nutrition. Although smoking and excessive alcohol
consumption are also important causal factors in the development of chronic diseases, they are not considered
here as other Closing the Gap Clearinghouse resource sheets are available on these topics:

  • Reducing alcohol and other drug related harm (Resource sheet no. 3)
  • Anti-tobacco programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Resource sheet no. 4).

This resource sheet describes the burden of lifestyle-related chronic diseases affecting Indigenous Australians.
It assesses the evidence regarding the effectiveness of physical activity and nutrition programs and identifies
strategies that have been demonstrated to be effective. It also reviews strategies that have the potential to be
effective, based on their short-term effect or their effectiveness in non-Indigenous populations.

Healthy lifestyle programs must be considered in a broader context that incorporates the social determinants
of health, and population-based approaches to health improvement. This approach recognises that the risk of
developing chronic disease is not only directly influenced by an individual’s behaviours but also by cultural,
historical, social, geographical, economic and community factors, and government health policies and services.