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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Examining the effectiveness of a community-based physical activity intervention on health-related physical fitness in Indigenous adults de Faye, Amanda Marie


Background: Improving the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples is a priority in Canada. A high prevalence of chronic diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity) has been reported among Indigenous communities. Despite the growing awareness of the health disparities faced by Indigenous communities compared to the general population, limited research exists on how to improve the cardio-metabolic health of Indigenous communities in culturally appropriate ways. Physical activity and fitness is well known to be of benefit for health. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a community-based walking and running physical activity program on improving health-related physical fitness and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Methods: Six Indigenous communities participating in the program hosted a health screening. A total of 87 adults of varying ages (44.6 ± 14.9 yr), health status and previous physical activity levels were included in this study. A trained Indigenous community member delivered weekly running and walking sessions. Aerobic fitness, muscular strength, body composition, blood pressure, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin and physical activity behaviour were assessed pre-and post-training. Results: Improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength were observed after the program. Health-related outcomes including waist circumference and blood pressure were reduced. Conclusion: A community-based physical activity program, led by an Indigenous community member, was effective at improving the cardio-metabolic health of Indigenous adults. Future research should consider modelling the design and implementation of this physical activity program when working with Indigenous communities to reduce cardio-metabolic diseases.

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