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WHY ACT NOW
Wellness & Health in Youth – Aboriginal Communities in Transition NOW

Through this project we are working with Aboriginal youth, Elders, and members of the community to create a program that will identify and prioritize topics on health and wellness. The program will be created for the youth, by the youth, and will include stakeholders’ point of views. All members involved in the project will have the opportunity to provide guidance and direction in identifying health and wellness concerns of Aboriginal youth. Together with the youth, a culturally appropriate and relevant program will be developed to address the identified concerns. The results of this program will be utilized for the creation of new policies relating to Aboriginal youths’ health, and will also be used to develop similar programs for the rest of Alberta. (Read more…)

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Healthy Foods North
(Nunavut and Northwest Territories)

Together with Inuit and Inuvialuit communities, our program, Healthy Foods North (HFN), aimed to reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve dietary intake in the North. Diet and disease risk can be improved by creating and putting into practice a program that addresses the specific needs of each community and incorporates traditional cultural values. The success of a program like HFN can be determined by measuring eating habits and exercise patterns in these communities before and after the program takes place. (Read more…)
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Maternal Health Project
(Arviat, NU and Inuvik, NT)

Aboriginal women living in the Canadian Arctic have high rates of infant and maternal mortality, as well as rising rates of chronic disease and obesity. Maternal health and nutrition both have major impacts on fetal development and future health of the infant. Childhood obesity is often pre-determined by maternal diet and increases the likelihood of obesity and chronic disease later in life. Aboriginal women living in the Canadian Arctic face a number of obstacles to optimal maternal nutrition due to recent cultural and nutrition transitions, a lack of culturally appropriate and accessible health care, high rates of smoking and alcohol consumption as well as a general lack of pre- and post-natal care knowledge among both women and men in the communities. (Read more…)

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Trinidad and Tobago
Assessment of nutritional intake for the development of a nutritional intervention program to reduce risk for chronic disease by improving dietary quality.
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International Polar Year
Nuts and Bolts of Research:  Community Based Skills Development and Training Program
Funded by International Polar Year (IPY)

The training course “Nuts and Bolts of Research” was a community based skills development and training program designed and run by Professor Gita Sharma, Endowed Chair of Aboriginal and Global Health, University of Alberta. Professor Sangita Sharma was assisted by Dr. Francis
Zotor and Megan Lukasewich, both members of the Aboriginal and Global Health Research Group. The training session took place over a three day period in the fall of 2011 (November 7-9) at Aurora College in Inuvik, Northwest Territories (NT) and was funded by the International Polar Year. The session was also supported both by the Aurora College and the Aurora Research Institute. (Read more…)

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ASTHMA
(Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

Asthma rates are rising worldwide. The reasons for this, as well as the factors that contribute to its development are largely unknown. The effect of diet on asthma risk has been studied, and one proposed theory is the protective effect of a diet high in antioxidants and low in pro-inflammatory factors. Flavonoids are a group of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in fruits and vegetables. The first meta-analysis of the effect of fruit and vegetable intake on the risk for developing asthma and wheezing was performed on the currently available literature. The meta-analysis found a promising link between flavonoids in fruits and vegetables and a lower incidence of asthma and its symptoms. Future research will focus on investigating a particularly vulnerable population: low income African Americans living in Baltimore whose diet is low in fresh fruits and vegetables and high in fats from animals, high fat/high sugar foods and sugary beverages. This diet is high in pro-inflammatory foods as well as being low in antioxidants. Research will focus on the extent to which a diet such as this can impact the incidence of asthma along with exposure to environmental allergens and pollutants.

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The Multiethnic Cohort Study
(Honolulu, HI and Los Angeles, CA)

The Multiethnic Cohort Study of Diet and Cancer (MEC) was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1993. The MEC is being conducted at the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center, in Honolulu, HI, and the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, CA.

The cohort of over 215,000 men and women are primarily of African-American, Japanese, Latino, Native Hawaiian and Caucasian descent. The ethnic diversity of Hawai‘i and California made it possible to develop this large study with its unique representation of minority populations.

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Social Determinants of Health
(Alberta, Canada)

Funded by Alberta Centre for Child, Family & Community Research (ACCFCR)

Aboriginal peoples are the youngest and fastest growing population in Canada. No matter where they live, aboriginal peoples face unique challenges such as high rates of smoking, illegal substance and alcohol use, poor nutrition, food insecurity and limited access to health care services. This is further complicated by higher unintentional injury, suicide rates and shorter life spans in comparison with the rest of the nation.

The AGHRG team undertook a systematic literature review to collate evident and identify priority issues in Aboriginal peoples’ health care. The review provides a foundation for a plan of action to address the health and well-being of Aboriginal communities, community members, leaders and elders. (Read more…)

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Helping Ourselves to Health: Addressing factors that contribute to obesity among Alaska Native people
(Alaska)

The specific objectives of this project include:
– Evaluating the impact of introducing the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) in rural Alaska Native villages, and

– Implementing and evaluating a culturally-relevant nutrition education intervention that promotes the use of traditional foods and increases the intake of fruits and vegetables among Alaskan Natives. (Read more…)

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Cancer ACCESS: Attitudes Towards Cancer in Indigenous Communities & Examining Uptake of Screening Services
(Fort Good Hope & Inuvik, NT)
The aims of this study are to determine for each community, as well as by gender; for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers:
– Knowledge and attitudes towards cancer screening services.
– Utilization of cancer screening services by the participants.
– Predictors of uptake of cancer screening services (e.g. age, gender, education).
– Barriers to, and opportunities for improving utilization of cancer screening services.
– Comparing findings from objectives 1, 2 and 4 between the two study settings.

(Read more…)

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Zhiiwaapenewin Akino’maagewin: Teaching to Prevent Diabetes
(in partnership with Dr. Joel Gittelsohn, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Epidemic rates of diabetes among Native North Americans demand novel solutions. “Zhiiwaapenewin Akino’maagewin: Teaching to Prevent Diabetes” was a community-based diabetes prevention program based in schools, food stores and health offices in seven First Nations in northwestern Ontario, Canada. Program interventions in these three types of institutions included implementation of Grades 3 and 4 healthy lifestyles curricula; stocking and labeling of healthier foods and healthy recipes cooking demonstrations and taste tests; and mass media efforts and community events held by health agencies. A total of 156 posters were placed in community locations; radio, cable TV and newsletters were utilized. Interviews revealed that the program was culturally acceptable and relevant, and suggestions for improvement were made. These findings will be used to plan an expanded trial in several Native North American communities.

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Apache Healthy Stores 
(in partnership with Dr. Joel Gittelsohn, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Diabetes, obesity and heart disease are severe problems among the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache. Most of these problems are related to a changing lifestyle. Eating a diet that is low in fat and sugar and high in fiber is part of improving lifestyle. The Apache Healthy Stores Program was created to address these problems by working to improve healthy food availability and to promote healthy eating. The development and use of a population-specific food frequency questionnaire was used to develop, implement and evaluate a food store-based nutrition intervention to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Goals:
– To improve the availability of healthy foods in local stores.
– To promote the purchase of healthy food alternatives in local stores using health communications approaches.
– To evaluate how successful the program is in increasing knowledge and changing food purchasing, preparation and consumption.

Features:
– One year intervention period: March 2003-March 2004.
– Involved 15 small and large food stores located on the San Carlos and White Mountain Apache reservations.
– Messages developed with approval and participation of tribal leaders.
– After a positive evaluation, in mid-2005 work began to make the AHS intervention sustainable in the community setting.

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Barbados National Cancer Study
(Barbados)

The Barbados National Cancer Study (BNCS) is a nationwide case-control study investigating environmental and genetic factors for breast cancer (BC) in a predominantly African-origin population with similar ancestry as African-Americans. This report evaluates associations of incident BC in the BNCS to various factors, including demographic, anthropometric, reproductive and family history variables, not investigated previously in this population. The reproductive patterns of African-Barbadian (AB) women tended to differ from those of African-American (AA) women (later age of menarche, earlier age at first pregnancy, higher frequency of lactation and infrequent use of exogenous hormones) and could help to explain their considerably lower postmenopausal incidence of BC. The relationship between reported family history and BC, combined with the associations noted for several reproductive and other variables, supports the genetic and environmental contributions to BC, which may vary in populations across the African diaspora. Further investigations of other populations may clarify these issues.

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Navajo Healthy Stores
(in partnership with Dr. Joel Gittelsohn, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Development of a quantitative food frequency questionnaire and assessment of nutritional intake for the development, implementation and evaluation of a nutritional intervention program.
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The Multiethnic Cohort Study
(Honolulu, HI and Los Angeles, CA)

The Multiethnic Cohort Study of Diet and Cancer (MEC) was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1993. The MEC is being conducted at the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center, in Honolulu, HI, and the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, CA.

The cohort of over 215,000 men and women are primarily of African-American, Japanese, Latino, Native Hawaiian and Caucasian descent. The ethnic diversity of Hawai‘i and California made it possible to develop this large study with its unique representation of minority populations.
(View publications)

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Colorectal Adenoma case-control study in Japanese Brazilians
(Japan and Brazil)

Incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) is lower in men of Japanese descent living in Brazil than in Japan (highest rates of CRC in the world) or Hawaii (third highest rates of CRC). This occurrence may be due to dietary and lifestyle differences between populations. The first step in the research was to create a validated food frequency questionnaire (QFFQ) for the specific populations using 24 Hour Recalls, food diaries and interviews. The QFFQ will be used to investigate the effect of specific factors on CRC incidence: including folate, smoking, alcohol, calcium, fruit and vegetable intake as well as heterocyclic aromatic amine consumption (from well cooked meat).
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Baltimore Healthy Stores
(in partnership with Dr. Joel Gittelsohn, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

We present the results of a trial in Baltimore City to increase the availability and sales of healthier food options in local stores, through partnerships with local schools, food store owners and community and youth organizations to create “healthy eating zones” around selected Baltimore city schools.

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African-origin populations
(Cameroon (urban and rural), Jamaica, and Manchester, UK)
The objective was to develop the methods for assessment of food and nutrient intake using standardized food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) in three African origin populations from Cameroon, Jamaica and Caribbean migrants to the United Kingdom.

The design was a cross-sectional assessment of diet from a representative sample in each site, using either a 2-day food diary or a 24-h recall method to determine foods for inclusion on the food frequency questionnaire.

A rural and urban site in Cameroon, Evodoula and Cite Verte in Yaounde, respectively; a district in Kingston, Jamaica; African-Caribbeans living in central Manchester, UK were the respective settings.

Subjects were aged 25-79 years. There were 61 participants from the Cameroonian urban site, 62 from the village site; 102 subjects from Jamaica, and 29 subjects from Manchester, UK.

Considerable variations exist within sites (Cameroon) and between sites in foods which are important contributors to nutrient intakes. With careful exploration of eating habits it has been possible to develop standardized, but locally appropriate FFQs for use in African populations in different countries.

(View publications)

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African-origin populations
(Cameroon (urban and rural), Jamaica, and Manchester, UK)
The objective was to develop the methods for assessment of food and nutrient intake using standardized food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) in three African origin populations from Cameroon, Jamaica and Caribbean migrants to the United Kingdom.

The design was a cross-sectional assessment of diet from a representative sample in each site, using either a 2-day food diary or a 24-h recall method to determine foods for inclusion on the food frequency questionnaire.

A rural and urban site in Cameroon, Evodoula and Cite Verte in Yaounde, respectively; a district in Kingston, Jamaica; African-Caribbeans living in central Manchester, UK were the respective settings.

Subjects were aged 25-79 years. There were 61 participants from the Cameroonian urban site, 62 from the village site; 102 subjects from Jamaica, and 29 subjects from Manchester, UK.

Considerable variations exist within sites (Cameroon) and between sites in foods which are important contributors to nutrient intakes. With careful exploration of eating habits it has been possible to develop standardized, but locally appropriate FFQs for use in African populations in different countries.

(View publications)

More Information»

African-origin populations
(Cameroon (urban and rural), Jamaica, and Manchester, UK)
The objective was to develop the methods for assessment of food and nutrient intake using standardized food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) in three African origin populations from Cameroon, Jamaica and Caribbean migrants to the United Kingdom.

The design was a cross-sectional assessment of diet from a representative sample in each site, using either a 2-day food diary or a 24-h recall method to determine foods for inclusion on the food frequency questionnaire.

A rural and urban site in Cameroon, Evodoula and Cite Verte in Yaounde, respectively; a district in Kingston, Jamaica; African-Caribbeans living in central Manchester, UK were the respective settings.

Subjects were aged 25-79 years. There were 61 participants from the Cameroonian urban site, 62 from the village site; 102 subjects from Jamaica, and 29 subjects from Manchester, UK.

Considerable variations exist within sites (Cameroon) and between sites in foods which are important contributors to nutrient intakes. With careful exploration of eating habits it has been possible to develop standardized, but locally appropriate FFQs for use in African populations in different countries.

(View publications)

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