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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Promoting fit bodies, healthy eating and physical activity among Indigenous Australian men: a study protocol

Lina A Ricciardelli, David Mellor, Marita P McCabe, Alexander J Mussap, David J Hallford* and Matthew Tyler

Author Affiliations

School of Psychology, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood VIC 3125, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-28

Published: 11 January 2012

Abstract

Background

Overall the physical health of Indigenous men is among the worst in Australia. Research has indicated that modifiable lifestyle factors, such as poor nutrition and physical inactivity, appear to contribute strongly to these poor health conditions. To effectively develop and implement strategies to improve the health of Australia's Indigenous peoples, a greater understanding is needed of how Indigenous men perceive health, and how they view and care for their bodies. Further, a more systematic understanding of how sociocultural factors affect their health attitudes and behaviours is needed. This article presents the study protocol of a community-based investigation into the factors surrounding the health and body image of Indigenous Australian men.

Methods and design

The study will be conducted in a collaborative manner with Indigenous Australian men using a participatory action research framework. Men will be recruited from three locations around Australia (metropolitan, regional, and rural) and interviewed to understand their experiences and perspectives on a number of issues related to health and health behaviour. The information that is collected will be analysed using modified grounded theory and thematic analysis. The results will then be used to develop and implement community events in each location to provide feedback on the findings to the community, promote health enhancing strategies, and determine future action and collaboration.

Discussion

This study will explore both risk and protective factors that affect the health of Indigenous Australian men. This knowledge will be disseminated to the wider Indigenous community and can be used to inform future health promotion strategies. The expected outcome of this study is therefore an increased understanding of health and health change in Indigenous Australian men, the development of strategies that promote healthy eating and positive patterns of physical activity and, in the longer term, more effective and culturally-appropriate interventions to improve health.