Community-based obesity prevention initiatives in aboriginal communities: the experience of the eat well be active community programs in South Australia
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Childhood obesity is a growing concern world-wide, and obesity rates are higher in certain groups in the developed world, including Australian Aboriginal people. Community-based obesity prevention interventions (CBOPI) can help to address obesity, however the approach of such programs to reach diverse groups, including Aboriginal people, must be considered. This paper considers one mainstream1 CBOPI, the eat well be active (ewba) Community Programs in South Australia, which was delivered in two communities and sought to reach Aboriginal people as part of the overall program. This paper considers how well this approach was received by the Aboriginal people living and working in those communities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine Aboriginal workers who had some connection to the ewba program, and seven ewba project staff. Qualitative data analysis was performed and factors found to affect how well the program was received by Aboriginal people include relationships, approach and project target group, including geographical area. A different response was observed in the two communities, with a more positive response being observed in the community where more relationships were developed between ewba and Aboriginal staff. For any CBOPI seeking to work with Aboriginal (or other Indigenous) communities, it is vital to consider and plan how the program will meet the needs and preferences of Aboriginal people in all stages of the project, in order to reach this group.