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The Lowitja institute awarded a Small Grant to the University of Queensland and the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) in 2013 to evaluate the IUIH’s Deadly Choices program. Deadly Choices in an initiative of the IUIH in south east Queensland and is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health. Deadly Choices is a school and community-based chronic disease prevention and education initiative that encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in South East Queensland to make healthy choices; focusing on chronic diseases and their risk factors such as nutrition, physical activity, smoking and harmful substances. This evaluation investigated the impact of the Deadly Choices initiative, including the seven week school based health education program, community-group program and community events, between April and October 2013.
The research aimed to:
This evaluation utilised a mixed methods approach including qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. This included pre/post questionnaires to assess changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviours; interviews to explore in further detail the impact of Deadly Choices; and an audit trail to assess the impact of the health screening activities at community events.
Results indicated that the Deadly Choices school-based program improved the knowledge, attitudes, self-efficacy and behaviours of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in South East Queensland regarding leadership, chronic disease and risk factors. The school-based program also facilitated the uptake of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health checks (MBS item 715) for young people within the program. Results also indicate there are a range of barriers and facilitators and differing perceptions around health for these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. Results suggest that the Deadly Choices community events improved participant’s health literacy regarding chronic disease risk factors; facilitated community engagement with local health services; provided an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to increase social connections; and indirectly increased community awareness around health and physical activity. The results from this evaluation will inform improvements and enhancements to the Deadly Choices initiative relating to program and event education content; maximising health checks/screens; and improving program attendance. In addition, recommendations have been provided for ongoing program evaluation.
Dr Alison Nelson
The University of Queensland