The need for culturally safe physical activity promotion and programs

Audrey R. Giles, Francine E. Darroch

Abstract


Cultural safety is an approach currently used in health care that is meant to address health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and colonizing practices in health care. It has been found to empower patient decision-making and result in a relationship where patients and providers work together towards effective care. In this commentary, we argue that such an approach needs to be employed in physical activity promotion and programs as another way of addressing health disparities that continue to exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Further, we assert that cultural safety can address the critiques that have been made of attempts to use cultural sensitivity, cultural relevancy, and cultural competency training for physical activity providers and in implementing physical activity programs. Cultural safety in physical activity promotion and programs is not only an ethical practice, but also one that has the potential to significantly improve the health of Indigenous peoples, which could lead to related improvements in quality of life, lowering rates of morbidity and mortality, and resulting in considerable savings to the health care sector.

Keywords


Indian, North American; exercise; health promotion

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.105.4439