UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Co-creation of a strengths-based approach to improve cardiometabolic health : a community-based and Indigenous led healthy lifestyle intervention Lai, Henry Pak Hei


Background: Finding culturally relevant and safe ways to co-create health and fitness programs that support traditional ways to be physically active are important areas of strengths-based research with Indigenous communities in Canada. Indigenous communities are returning to traditional ways of being active on the land, and colonial perceptions of health and fitness are culturally inappropriate for Indigenous communities. As such, research methodologies should focus on empowering Indigenous community leaders to be the key advocates of health behaviour change within their own communities. Objectives: This study examined the impact of a community-based and Indigenous led healthy lifestyle intervention designed specifically to improve health-related physical fitness and healthy lifestyle behaviours (reducing sedentary activity time and increasing physical activity levels) in adults (n = 15). Methodology: In collaboration and consultation with a rural and remote Indigenous community, we co-created a 13-week Indigenous led intervention incorporating individualized western exercise prescriptions and knowledge sharing circles in a group-based walking program. Measures of physical activity and sedentary behaviour (self-report and 7-day accelerometry), predicted maximal aerobic power (VO2max; 6-minute walk test), resting heart rate and blood pressure, and other health-related physical fitness measures (musculoskeletal fitness and body composition) were taken pre- and post-intervention. Results: Significant and clinically relevant improvements in aerobic fitness, resting blood pressure, and resting heart rate were observed. Accelerometry-measured moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity minutes were above international recommendations (~275 min/week), and sedentary activity time in bouts of >60 min reduced significantly post-intervention. No significant changes were observed in weight, body mass index, waist circumference, percentage body fat, grip strength, and flexibility. Conclusion: This work demonstrates how an Indigenous designed and led, community-based healthy lifestyle intervention can provide a culturally relevant strategy to increase health-related physical fitness, increase physical activity participation, and reduce sedentary behaviours.

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