Hamilton, ON — A major study showed that Canadian First Nations groups had lower cardiac risk factors with greater socio-economic benefits, educational opportunities, family members ‘ social support, and greater trust among community members.
The thesis is the first cohort study of First Nations communities across the country, including members of the First Nation community working with academic researchers through eight Canadian communities. Community assessments were also performed to determine transit accessibility; cigarettes, alcohol, safe and unsafe products, physical environment, supply and costs.
Many of the areas have been rough for fitness cycling. Nearly half of the participants reported being highly optimistic about the future of their culture. Less than a third of people were upset that when off-reserve members of the community were subject to prejudice.
The study found that groups with lower cardiovascular risk had a higher socio-economic advantage shown by higher employment, wages, and long-term marriage partnerships; greater loyalty among community members; a higher proportion of people with high school education; and higher social support shown by multiple strong relationships with family. For populations with difficulties receiving primary care and people with medical prescriptions who were unable to afford to fill them, further risk factors were noticed.
“The MRIs showed a strong association between the heart risk factor and possible vascular disease, and this means that lowering these risk factors is of paramount importance in reducing the risk of vascular disease,” said Anand, who is a medicine professor at McMaster and an HHS vascular medicine expert. The study’s First Nations communities included B.C. Gitxsan; Alberta’s Maskwacis; Alberta’s Fort McKay; Saskatchewan’s La Ronge; Ontario’s Oneida; Ontario’s Six Nations; Quebec’s Wendake and N.S. Pictou Landing. Nadine Caron is a University of British Columbia physician and co-director of the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Education.
Although not participating in the research study, she said it was important to look at the strengths in populations that lead to lower heart risk including family social support, confidence, advanced education, employment, and unemployment.
“To achieve these goals, we need to work with First Nations communities. To eliminate and minimize cardiovascular disease in First Nations populations, these health disparity issues need to be addressed.