Background for Women Warriors 2016 RPAD Grant
Aboriginal rates of diabetes are estimated to be 10.3% and 7.3% for First Nations and Métis off reserve respectively. Obesity rates are also high at 26% of the population. It is well established that physical activity, nutrition and education programming are effective diabetes prevention strategies. Even modest changes in diet and exercise can lead to reductions of > 50% in the incidence of diabetes among individuals with impaired glucose regulation. Lifestyle strategies to support weight management efforts, can also impact obesity, which may reduce the rates of many other diseases including heart disease and cancer. However, physical activity and nutrition cannot be addressed in isolation. Psychosocial, socio-economic and environmental factors must also be considered, including addictions, mental health, employment status, education level, food security, housing, transportation, safety, etcetera in order for health programming to be successful.
The primary focus of the program is to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary time for children, youth and adults as per the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines and the Canadian Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. Targets of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week for adults and 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day for children and youth, with reduction of screen time to less than 2 hours per day and a goal to minimize sedentariness, effective tools for diabetes prevention. Over the course of eight weeks, women and their children are exposed to many different types of exercise and activity in order to educate and encourage them. There will also be a facilitated self-awareness component using materials developed from the CANdeck Wellness Program. These self-awareness tools are intended to guide participants to better identify their own health issues and guide them to seek support from professionals as needed. Another primary focus of the program is to integrate nutrition education and dietary change with goals of increasing fruit, vegetable and fiber intake, reducing sugar intake and optimizing protein intake while taking into consideration the socioeconomic and food security realities of the participants (food and meal suggestions will be based on availability and affordability).