Objectives were to gather information from Talking Circles of Aboriginal women who participated in a maternal Nutrition and Exercise Lifestyle Intervention Program (NELIP) to identify strategies to bring NELIP into the community. Twelve First Nations women participated. Several main themes were identified regarding health: balance, knowledge/education and time management. Benefits of the NELIP were improvement in health, stamina, stress, and a healthy baby, no gestational diabetes and a successful home birth, with social support as an important contributing factor for success. Suggestions for improvement for the NELIP included group walking, and incorporating more traditional foods into the meal plan. The information gathered is the first step in determining strategies using participatory research and capacity-building to develop a community-based NELIP for pregnant Aboriginal women.


The authors sincerely thank the Southern Ontario Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative (SOADI) for their partnership in the use of the “Ribbon of Life” for our Talking Circles; especially Roslyn Baird, Program Director; Carol Loft, Diabetes Prevention Coordinator-Eastern Region and Barbara Whiteye, Diabetes Prevention Coordinator-Western Region. The authors also wish to acknowledge and thank Vivian Peters – Coordinator, and Debbie Dolson – Liaison Counsellor, Indigenous Services, University of Western Ontario. Funding for this project was provided by the Canadian Institute of Health Research: Institute of Aboriginal Peoples’ Health.

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