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Health benefits of on-country activities

Quantifying the health benefits of on-country activities in the remote Indigenous community of Groote Eylandt

This project measured the benefits that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Groote Eylandt gain when they go ‘on-country’. Prior research shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gain important mental and physical health benefits when they engage in ‘caring for country’ activities, and we believe that many of these same benefits will also emerge when people are on-country. To test this possibility, the project team worked with the Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC) Land & Sea Rangers of Groote Eylandt and volunteers who agreed to be monitored when on-country. Using various small devices that people attached to elastic anklebands, they measured physical activity levels, foods eaten, and feelings of contentment and enjoyment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women while they were on-country. The exact procedures and details of the measures were developed in collaboration with the ALC Land & Sea Rangers. The research team expected to find that when the women of Groote Eylandt are on-country they engaged in a healthy level of physical activity, they ate a healthier diet, and had better emotional wellbeing.

A report, originally prepared in 2014, has been updated and is available through Lowitja Publishing.