The Impact of the Aboriginal Youth Mentorship Program on risk factors for type 2 diabetes in children
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Statement of Problem: Aboriginal youth are at greater risk of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) compared to non-Aboriginal youth. Diabetes prevention strategies need to consider cultural factors that are embedded within an ecological perspective. Methods: Photovoice was used to explore the meanings of T2D and the Aboriginal Youth Mentorship Program (AYMP). Also, a non-randomized crossover experimental trial was performed on children. Grade 4 students were offered a 5 month intervention led by high school mentors. The main outcome measures were WC and BMI z score. Results: Results indicate that youth were very hopeful that T2D can be prevented or managed through nutrition and physical activity. They believe that AYMP can help with T2D prevention, through learning positive health behaviors, but also by enhancing social determinants of health related to education, employment and social support networks. After the intervention, the change in WC was significantly lower in the intervention group compared to the control group (p <0.05). Conclusion: Findings from this research study show that AYMP may be a successful program in teaching positive lifestyle behaviors while supporting social determinants of health; the combined biological and social outcomes can benefit students in reducing their risk for T2D.