Objectives:Despite the need to develop effective strategies for improving health literacy for weight management in non-English speaking migrants, the evidence about the impact of ethnicity on health literacy remains poorly understood. This review sought to understand how ethnicity modifies the effect of interventions aimed at improving health literacy for weight management in non-English speaking migrants and whether these interventions impact on behavioural and physiological risk factors.
Design: We conducted a systematic review. Major electronic databases were searched using keywords in various combinations. Eligibility criteria included quantitative and qualitative studies, among non-English speaking adult migrants, who were overweight or obese, in primary health care.
Results: A total of 10 studies met the inclusion criteria (four quantitative and six qualitative studies) mostly with Hispanic population in the USA and none of high quality. The mean age of the participants was 45. BMI and indicators of social status, including income and education were not consistently reported in all the studies.
Conclusion: Interventions that are culturally adapted to their target group, incorporate both nutrition and physical activity education, and delivered by a multidisciplinary tea, were proven to be successful in improving health literacy and weight in overweight or obese non-English speaking migrants. It was difficult to tease out the effect of ethnicity on these interventions. Ethnicity was found to be a barrier and facilitator for improving health literacy for weight management by shaping beliefs, attitudes, and understanding around weight management in this group. More research is needed to develop evidence-based interventions to improve health literacy and weight in non-English speaking migrants.