Developing an obesity-cancer intervention for workplaces: Indigenous, Native American, Māori and other minority occupational settings

Rodney C. Haring, Maui Hudson, Deborah Erwin, Elisa M. Rodriguez, Whitney Ann E. Henry, Marissa Haring


There is growing evidence for links between obesity and certain types of cancer. Studies done within Native American, Māori, and other Indigenous populations suggest the need to promote healthier lifestyles, including the maintenance of optimal body weight through nutrition and physical activity, to lower the risk factors of obesity-related cancers. What is missing is a program that combines culturally attuned workplace interventions that deal with obesity reduction as it relates to cancer prevention. The main purpose of this project was to discuss the process of developing an employee assistance program module to reduce the risk for obesity-related cancers. Expert curriculum developers specialising in workplace disease management assisted with the creation of a unique obesity and cancer prevention program. Several national leaders in Indigenous and minority health were consulted for feedback. The completed intervention included a six-session model with cultural features wrapped around topics of obesity-related cancer warning signs, diet and physical activity guidance, stress management, goal-setting, and resource linkage. A Native American workplace was selected for feasibility and pilot testing. Preliminary results are also discussed. Ultimately, this paper presents a novel intervention approach to address health issues for Native Americans, with indicators for use in other Indigenous populations globally.

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