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Evaluating Maori community initiatives to promote Healthy Eating, Healthy Action

13 Feb 2014

Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, experience poorer health than non-Māori across a range of health measures. Interventions focused at an individual level have proved largely ineffective; ‘bottom-up’ approaches where communities determine their own priorities may be more sustainable than ‘top-down’ approaches where goals are determined by health authorities. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate an innovative health promotion programme aimed at improving Māori health and to discuss the importance of ownership and control of health initiatives by Māori. Evaluators conducted a comprehensive evaluation of a Healthy Eating Healthy Action programme in six small Māori health agencies, gathering information from programme managers and co-ordinators, participants and wider community members about what changes were occurring at individual, family and community levels. Effective interventions built on cultural values and practices and were delivered by Māori with close connections to the community. Changes in nutrition and physical activity made by participants also benefitted their wider families and community. The changes demonstrated subtle but important shifts in thinking about healthy eating and healthy activity that in the longer term could lead to more measurable change towards improved quality of life for people within communities.

13 February 2014

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Health Promotion International