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Indigenous Health & Wellness

The Indigenous Health and Physical Activity Program at UBC is dedicated to examining and improving the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples via healthy lifestyle behaviours. Founded in 2000, this program has reached over 350 Indigenous communities and more than 15,000 Indigenous community members. Throughout the years, our program has involved more than 50 Indigenous trainees leaving a lasting legacy throughout Canada. 

We work extensively with organizations and Indigenous leaders committed to facilitating healthy lifestyle behaviours in Indigenous communities. Our research is participatory in nature, with Indigenous leaders playing central roles in the design and implementation of our community-based initiatives. Therefore, Indigenous leaders and other key knowledge users are involved throughout our projects from the development of the questions of primary importance to the knowledge translation of our findings. In each of our investigations, participants are recruited through local First Nations band offices and/or Native Friendship Centres. Testing is generally conducted within local Indigenous communities with the assistance of local Indigenous healthcare professionals and leaders. Our vision is to integrate healthy lifestyle behaviours (nutrition, sleep, smoking cessation, and alcohol moderation) with physical activity in the primary and secondary prevention of chronic disease (particularly cardiovascular disease and diabetes).

We are honoured to have several research trainees that are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples. We welcome and encourage students of Indigenous descent to apply for graduate studies in our program. There are various funding opportunities for our graduate trainees. Our trainees have published several influential works contributing greatly to our understanding of the optimal means of improving the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples. Here are some examples of this work:

  • Warburton DER, Foulds HJA, Charlesworth S, Rhodes RE and Bredin SSD. The importance of physical activity interventions in Aboriginal children. Health & Fitness Journal of Canada 2008;1(1):9­13.
  • Foulds HJ, Bredin SS, Warburton DE. The effectiveness of community based physical activity interventions with Aboriginal peoples. Prev. Med. 2011;53:411-416
  • Foulds HJ, Bredin SS, Warburton DE. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in British Columbian Aboriginal adults. Obes Rev. 2011;12:e4-e11
  • Foulds HJ, Bredin SS, Warburton DE. The relationship between hypertension and obesity across different ethnicities. J Hypertens. 2012;30:359-367
  • Foulds HJ, Bredin SS, Warburton DE. An evaluation of the physical activity and health status of British Columbian Aboriginal populations. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 2012;37:127-137.
  • Foulds HJA, Bredin SSD, Warburton DER. The relationship between diabetes and obesity across different ethnicities. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism 2012;3:228. doi:10.4172/2155-6156.100022.
  • Foulds HJ, Bredin SS, Warburton DE. Greater prevalence of select chronic conditions among Aboriginal and South Asian participants from an ethnically diverse convenience sample of British Columbians. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 2012;37:1212-1221.
  • Foulds HJ, Warburton DE, Bredin SS. A systematic review of physical activity levels in Native American populations in Canada and the United States in the last 50 years. Obesity Reviews 2013;14(7):593-603. doi: 10.1111/obr.12032.
  • Foulds HJ, Shubair MM, Warburton DE. A review of the cardiometabolic risk experience among Canadian Métis populations. Can J Cardiol. 2013;29(8):1006-13.
  • Foulds HJ, Warburton DE. The blood pressure and hypertension experience among North American Indigenous populations. Journal of Hypertension. 2014;32(4):724-34.
  • Foulds HJ, Bredin SS, Warburton DE. Ethnic differences in the vascular responses to aerobic exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015;47(2):280-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000423.
  • Tobe SW, Maar M, Roy MA, and Warburton DE. Preventing cardiovascular and renal disease in Canada’s Aboriginal populations. Can J Cardiol. 2015;31(9):1124-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2015.05.024. PMID: 26321434
  • Foulds HJ, Bredin SS, and Warburton DE. The vascular health status of a population of adult Canadian Indigenous peoples from British Columbia. J Hum Hypertens. 2016;30(4):278-84. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2015.51. PMID: 26063562
  • Foulds HJA, Bredin SSD, and Warburton DER. Ethnic differences in the cardiac responses to aerobic exercise. Ethn Health 2017:1-14. doi:10.1080/13557858.2017.1315377 PMID: 28438042
  • Foulds HJA, Bredin SSD, and Warburton DER. Ethnic differences in vascular function and the relationship with blood pressure. Canadian Journal of Public Health Accepted for publication (2018). Manuscript #6100.
  • Foulds HJA, Bredin SSD, and Warburton DER. Cardiovascular dynamics of Canadian Indigenous Peoples. International Journal of Circumpolar Health Accepted for publication (2018). Manuscript #ZICH-2017-0046R1.

*underlined names represent graduate trainees working under the supervision of Drs. Warburton and Bredin. The Indigenous Health & Physical Activity program actively encourages its trainees to be the lead authors on community-based publications with Drs. Warburton or Bredin serving as the senior (last) authors on these publications. Funding for this work was provided to Drs. Warburton and/or Bredin.