THE STUDY

A national study on the HEALTH of First Nations children and youth

FEHNCY is a research study that will look at the nutrition, health and environment of First Nations children and youth aged 3-19 years across Canada in communities through partnerships and community participation.

 

The results from the study will inform government policy and community program recommendations with the goal of improving the health of First Nations children.  The study will contribute to capacity building within First Nations communities and Assembly of First Nations (AFN) regions.

When will the study happen?

Winter
&
Fall

2020 – 2030

Communities will be
randomly selected
region by region
beginning fall 2020.

Components of the Study

FOOD ENVIRONMENT FOOD ENVIRONMENT
HOUSING CONDITIONS HOUSING CONDITIONS
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

FOOD ENVIRONMENT

FOOD ENVIRONMENT, FOOD SECURITY, AND NUTRITION AND HEALTH

The availability, accessibility and affordability of food known as the food environment within a region or community directly influences what a person decides to consume on a daily basis. In First Nations communities, along with food environment, food insecurity also greatly impacts the diet of the children and youth in the communities. Often, due to financial restraints, members of the household reduce daily consumption of food or sometimes even choose to skip meals. One of the key objectives of FEHNCY is to assess the health status of the children and youth in the communities relative to their food environment and food insecurity.

This component of the study will be divided according to the following three levels;

ASSESSMENT OF CHILD’S COMMUNITY AND SCHOOL’S FOOD ENVIRONMENT

In order to develop an understanding of children and youth’s experience within their food environment, participatory mapping will be performed with 2 age groups. Participatory mapping will give us access to the unique insights into children’s perspectives of their food environments via a visual representation. In addition, to assess traditional food yields, access to alternative food sources and enquire about food support groups, key informant interviews will be conducted. To determine the geographical access to food and assess the nutritional quality, accessibility, and availability, observations of the consumer and community food environments will also be carried out.

ASSESSMENT OF CHILD’S HOUSEHOLD ENVIRONMENT

By incorporating sociodemographic questions from numerous surveys including the Household Food Security Survey Module, the caregivers of each household will be interviewed to collect quantitative data

ASSESSMENT OF CHILD’S NUTRITION AND HEALTH

By utilizing the survey questionnaires, anthropometric and blood measurements, children will be directly interviewed by trained personnel to collect quantitative data on health, diet and nutrition status.

HOUSING CONDITIONS

HOUSING CONDITIONS, INDOOR AIR QUALITY, AND RESPIRATORY HEALTH IN CHILDREN

HOUSEHOLD INSPECTION

  • 100 parents/caregivers of participating children/youth will answer questions about the home
  • Household inspection using standardized tool
  • Installation of air quality monitors
  • Installation of radon detectors

INDOOR AIR QUALITY

01. Collection of settled dust

A dust sampling sock of a omega HEPA vacuum will be utilized to collect dust sampling and analyzed for endotoxin, dust-mite allergens and fungal glucan. For some communities, the indoor radon values will be recorded.

02. Monitoring of indoor air quality

A real time monitor will be set up in each household, allowing us to measure and record the levels of CO2, CO, NO2 PM2.5 and formaldehyde along with temperature and relative humidity (RH) for 5-7 days.

03. VOC measurement

To date, little information is available regarding indoor air volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in First Nations communities. To fill this knowledge gap, 20 households per community will be randomly selected for measuring VOCs. The monitoring period will last for 5 days.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS

EXPOSURE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS

To measure the child’s exposure to environmental contaminants, their health and nutritional status, the local research assistants will set up appointments for the children to visit the mobile clinic. In the FEHNCY mobile clinic, the following measurements, biological sample collection and tests will be conducted:

BIOLOGICAL SAMPLE COLLECTION

  • Hair samples from each participant will be collected to measure total and inorganic mercury level for the past three months. If extra hair sample remains at the end analysis, it will either be returned to the participant or destroyed according to the specific First Nations spiritual practices.
  • Blood samples will be collected using standard protocols and a complete blood formula will be performed to evaluate the hemoglobin, corpuscular hemoglobin average, corpuscular hemoglobin average concentration, platelets, etc. Blood glucose level will also be determined for each child.
  • Two urine samples from each participant will be collected, one during the household inspection and the second during their visit to the mobile clinic. These two samples will be pooled together for selective analysis.

All the results obtained from the various analyses will be recorded on the FEHNCY clinical form and participant portfolio. Many analyses will be performed immediately after the sample collection to provide the participants with their results while the FEHNCY mobile clinic team is still in the community whenever possible. On-site clinical follow-up will be set up with designated local health professionals with the consent of the participant in case of abnormal test results.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

COMMUNITY MOBILIZATION

FEHNCY is designed to encourage and emphasize the involvement of the local communities by motivating them in determining and advocating for improving the health of their next and future generations. Community mobilization is an important aspect of this study and will be applied by providing information to the communities and using the results obtained for advocacy. Presentations and workshops in community schools will be held to promote the engagement of youth leaders and other members in the early stage of the study. Results workshop will be organized to train the First Nations communities on how to analyze their data and to promote regional and national programs and policy changes to benefit the health of their children and youth. Likewise, the study will proceed by fully acknowledging the contributions made by the various partners in producing the results, giving rise to the knowledge and finally, in deciding the actions to be taken.

INTEGRATED KNOWLEDGE TRANSLATION (IKT)

An alliance between researchers and knowledge users is widely believed to be proven beneficial in improving the application of the research results and alteration of policies. This relationship between the involved parties in order to produce the best outcome is known as Integrated knowledge translation(IKT). In our project, we highly encourage the exercise of IKT and our primary knowledge users are the participating communities, Assembly of First Nations (AFN), and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch. We will administer IKT in our project by holding two regular community presentations during the quantitative data collection phase and one presentation after the quantitative phase to discuss the report cards. A closing celebration will be arranged in each community to present the findings from the qualitative phase and to discuss priorities and recommendations for proposed actions. Towards the end of the entire project, an exhaustive report including all the significant data will be given to the identified band office and other community stakeholders.

INTERGENERATIONAL CAPACITY BUILDING

One of the key objectives of FEHNCY is implement intergenerational capacity building by exercising participatory mapping methods, key informant interviews and observations. This will help to assist the children, youth and the local community members to maximize their understanding, awareness and activity towards the health concerns present in their community.

03. Household Surveys

100 households with children/youth aged 3-19 years old will be randomly selected to be surveyed. From these households, one child will be randomly selected to participate. Some questions will be posed to their parent/caregiver, and others will be posed to the child/youth.

04. Mobile Clinics

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Main Study

Questions

  1. How healthy are First Nations children in Canada?
  2. Are First Nations children living in healthy environments?

What will the study measure?

Who will be doing the research?

Community members will be hired and trained as community researchers.

The Results

Each First Nation will receive a report with community-specific results, and a copy of their community’s data. The FEHNCY team will return to share results, and a workshop on how to use your data will be held in your community. A regional report will present overall results of nutrition, health and environmental well-being of children and youth in your region.

CONTACT US

PHONE: 613 562 5800 x7214

fehncy@uottawa.ca

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