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Developing Programs for African Families, by African Families: Engaging African Migrant Families in Melbourne in Health Promotion Interventions

Halliday, Jennifer A. BHSc(Hons); Green, Julie PhD, MPH, GDip; Mellor, David PhD, MPsych, Dip Ed, Dip Soc Sci; Mutowo, Mutsa P. MPH, BSc; de Courten, Maximilian MD, MPH; Renzaho, André M. N. PhD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000011
Original Articles

Obesity is an emerging problem for African migrants in Australia, but few prevention programs incorporate their cultural beliefs and values. This study reports on the application of community capacity-building and empowerment principles in 4 workshops with Sudanese families in Australia. Workshop participants prioritized health behaviors, skill and knowledge gaps, and environments for change to identify culturally centered approaches to health promotion. The workshops highlighted a need for culturally and age-appropriate interventions that build whole-of-family skills and knowledge around the positive effects of physical activity and nutrition to improve health within communities while reducing intergenerational and gender role family conflicts.

Global Health and Society Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Mss Halliday and Mutowo and A/Prof Renzaho); Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and Parenting Research Centre, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Dr Green); School of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia (Prof Mellor); School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (Prof de Courten); and Centre for International Health, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Prof Renzaho).

Correspondence: Jennifer A. Halliday, BHSc(Hons), School of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Burwood 3125, Victoria, Australia (

This work was supported by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) (2008-0107) and the Australian Research Council (DP1094661). The authors thank the African Review Panel and steering committee members for guiding the project, Michael Jang and Peter Dador for their role in participant recruitment, and the South Sudanese community in Melbourne for supporting and participating in the project.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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