International Relationships Fund - NZ-US enabling grants (2017)

Professor Boyd Swinburn
University of Auckland
Indigenous approaches to reducing childhood obesity
18 months

Lay summary

Obesity is a systemic problem which demands systemic solutions. Indigenous populations in New Zealand and the US suffer from a high prevalence childhood obesity. Unique indigenous-led approaches to health are being developed among Māori, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian communities. This grant will bring together researchers in indigenous health, systems science and obesity prevention from New Zealand, Montana, and Hawaii to develop a research project to compare indigenous approaches to reducing childhood obesity using a novel method called group model building. This is a highly participatory method which will not only describe child obesity in the different locations in systems terms but also identify indigenous-developed systemic solutions, stimulate community actions, and measure changes over time. The outcomes from this enabling grant will be a review of indigenous approaches to child obesity (a summary to be published in Lancet), pilot data on community systems, a grant application, and strengthened international collaborations.

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