Evidence Reviews and Syntheses

A auto-rickshaw drives quickly along a road

This work involves the identification and review of published and grey literature from Africa and the Caribbean to investigate the determinants of diet and physical activity in low and middle income country (LMICs).

A scoping review of reviews was led by Cambridge to identify the range of literature available. The scoping review focuses on the general socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental conditions; social and community networks; and living and working conditions, alongside the impact of global influences such as climate change and trade rules on diet and physical activity. Within these categories, there are a range of potential upstream determinants of the lifestyle factors (diet and activity behaviours), which are our outcomes for this review.

Informed by the scoping review, two systematic reviews are in progress, further details of each review are provided below:

  1. evidence on the use and health impacts of active transport in Africa and the Caribbean
  2. the role of social networks as determinants of diet and physical behaviours in Africa and the Caribbean

The first review is being led by Cambridge and the second by the University of the West Indies (UWI). Senior and junior researchers from many partners are contributing as screeners and data abstractors to both reviews so building capacity in this area.

Factors associated with travel behaviour in African and the Caribbean: a mixed methods systematic review

Given the health, environmental and economic benefits of promoting active modes of travel, this systematic review aims to summarise evidence on the factors that shape travel behaviour in Africa and the Caribbean.

WHO Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 aims to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one third and SDG 11.2 aims to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems. The promotion of active modes of travel could contribute to both goals. Travel behaviour is complex, and there are myriad contextual factors that influence attitudes or preferences for specific travel modes such as walking or cycling. A number of aspects of the physical, social and economic environment have been considered important for mobility and travel.

However, most research on the determinants of physical activity is drawn from high income countries where the context is different and determinants may differ. Additionally, while active modes of travel (such as walking, cycling or using public transport) are beneficial for improving physical activity, there is no consensus on the main factors that determine the choice and use of specific transport modes in LMICs.

This mixed-method systematic review aims to summarise evidence on the factors associated with travel behaviour in Africa and the Caribbean. It follows a scoping review of reviews that identified a gap in the availability of summarised evidence exploring determinants of physical activity more broadly in these geographical areas. This aligns with other work packages in GDAR. In particular, this review aligns with the work on Transport and Health modelling [LINK], a transport modelling project making use of existing and new routine data, and the workstream Policy Environments and Processes [LINK], which aims to map the policy environment with regards to diet and health.

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The Association between Social and community networks, and physical activity in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean: A systematic Review

There is increasing recognition of the importance of social interactions on changing health behaviours, interventions involving established social and community networks are being used to promote health and target a number of health behaviours.

This mixed-method systematic review aims to understand how social and community networks and social networking sites work in Africa and Caribbean may be used to combat physical inactivity.

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