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NAHO Fact Sheet Details Multiple Causes of Aboriginal Childhood Obesityf

Ottawa (May 29, 2012) – Obesity has become a major health issue affecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada. Research shows that obesity, which affects people of all ages, often has its roots in childhood. This is especially true in Aboriginal populations as approximately 29% of Métis, 46% of Inuit and 37% of First Nations children between 6 and 8 are reported as obese compared with 8% of Canada’s non-Aboriginal children.

The effects of obesity in children are worrisome, but can become serious as children enter adulthood, leading to disproportionately high rates of such conditions as diabetes, cancer and heart disease among Aboriginal populations. While the effects have been well-studied, the causes have received less attention. Therefore, the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) has created a fact sheet on Aboriginal children and obesity.The four-page fact sheet was created in partnership with Dr. Noreen Willows from the University of Alberta based on her research. The fact sheet views the precursors to Aboriginal childhood obesity holistically and offers recommendations to communities and healthcare providers to help them assess and prevent it. The research states that whether or not an Aboriginal child becomes obese is a result of seven factors: the individual, relationships, home, community, built environments, society and historical factors.

“The health issues which affect First Nations, Inuit and Métis have numerous determinants,” says Simon Brascoupé, Acting CEO of NAHO. “These populations understand the interconnectedness of their relationships, their environments and their health. The challenge now is that issues that are affecting our children, like obesity, require collective solutions involving many partners.”

The fact sheet can be downloaded at www.naho.ca

For more information on her research, contact Dr. Willows at [email protected]

NAHO – a leader in creating and sharing evidence-based research on First Nations, Inuit and Métis health with communities, health providers and partner organizations.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Trevor Eggleton, A/ Manager, Communications
National Aboriginal Health Organization
Tel: (613) 237-9462 ext. 505 / Toll Free: 1-877-602-4445 ext. 505
Cell: (613) 863-7765 / E-mail: [email protected]