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Culture's Healing Potential Offers Hope For Canada's Indigenous�|�Jon McGavock

4.6.16

Culture's Healing Potential Offers Hope For Canada's Indigenous�|�Jon McGavock: When indigenous youth are asked to identify elements of health in their community, they consistently point to aspects of their culture, including land, language and ceremony, as factors that make them healthy. A randomized trial of indigenous adults at risk for type 2 diabetes tested this theory and found that a six-month program of cultural teachings, including language and history, was more effective than conventional diet and exercise teachings for reducing the risk factors related to the metabolic disorder.

The most poignant example of the power of culture comes from a study of the 196 First Nations bands in British Columbia where suicide rates were 140 times higher among communities with no cultural continuity, compared to those with the highest levels. Cultural continuity was defined as measures of self-governance over education, health, established cultural facilities and titles over land.

Policy makers are finally starting to pay attention to the connection between culture and health -- and how that may offer steps forward for addressing health crises among Canada's indigenous peoples.


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Dispatch: Aboriginal Press Media Group  |   Permalink  |   [4.6.16]  |   0 comments

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