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Qual Health Res. 2012 Jul;22(7):986-96. doi: 10.1177/1049732312443737.

Using first nations children's perceptions of food and activity to inform an obesity prevention strategy.

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  • 1University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Obesity and associated health risks disproportionately affect Aboriginal (First Nations) children in Canada. The purpose of this research study was to elicit First Nations children's perceptions of food, activity, and health to inform a community-based obesity prevention strategy. Fifteen 4th- and 5th-Grade students participated in one of three focus group interviews that utilized drawing and pile-sorting activities. We used an ecological lens to structure our findings. Analyses revealed that a variety of interdependent sociocultural factors influenced children's perceptions. Embedded within a cultural/traditional worldview, children indicated a preference for foods and activities from both contemporary Western and traditional cultures, highlighted family members as their main sources of health information, and described information gaps in their health education. Informed by children's perspectives, these findings offer guidance for developing an obesity prevention strategy for First Nations children in this community.

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