The visual and cultural context of healthy body weight and body image among Aboriginal women in the Battlefords Tribal Council region

Last Updated: December 20, 2012

Sylvia Abonyi, PhD (Co-Investigator)

Obesity and its associated health risks have been identified as areas of concern for Aboriginal women, yet little is known about the visual, gendered, historical and cultural meanings or experiences of healthy body weight and healthy body image for Aboriginal women. As well, the complex intersections between the physical body and socio-cultural experiences have also been under-researched. 

This three-year community-based research project identifies, analyzes, and disseminates local knowledge about the cultural and visual contexts of health body weight and healthy body image from the perspective of rural Aboriginal women. It is led by Principal Investigator Jennifer Poudrier, University of Saskatchewan, and also includes Co-Investigators: Karen Chad and Roanne Thomas-MacLean, University of Saskatchewan; and Janice Kennedy, Mīwayawin Health Services.

Goals / Outcomes: In this community consultation, we found that the meanings of the “healthy body” were inextricably connected to cultural, historical, visual and gendered experiences. We also found that community health services could be improved upon by integrating a better understanding of women’s experiences. Moreover, our consultation suggested that the research methodology must be participatory and empowering for Aboriginal women. The research will build capacity in Aboriginal health in Saskatchewan and in Aboriginal communities across Canada. 

Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research Aboriginal Health New Investigator