Primary prevention for resettled refugees from Burma: Where to begin?

Title: Primary prevention for resettled refugees from Burma: Where to begin?

Author: Haley, Heather-Lyn; Walsh, Meredith; Tin Maung, Nang H.; Savage, Clara P. and Cashman, Suzanne

Publication: Journal of Community Health

Date: 2013

Description: This research article argues that active primary prevention initiatives may help recently arrived refugees better maintain health in a new environment by keeping their own healthy cultural habits and building an awareness of harmful habits to avoid. The researchers developed an exploratory research project in conjunction with medical and nursing students and the Worcester Refugee Association Project (WRAP) to explore the knowledge of recently arrived Burmese refugees in Worcester, MA concerning eating behaviors, physical activity and sleep habits. With community members, the authors collaboratively developed and pilot tested a healthy living curriculum in focus groups.  The findings identified seven themes as particularly relevant: food choices, living environment, health information, financial stress, mobility/ transportation, social interaction and recreation, and hopes and dreams.  The study concluded that the refugees had a basic knowledge of healthy lifestyles but desired more specific information about recommended guidelines for healthy living and how to follow them. The results also suggest that community health workers would be effective in delivering this information since the refugees are familiar with and comfortable with community health outreach workers from their experience in refugee camps. The results of the research may prove useful for future health promotion with refugees from Burma.

Keywords: refugee health, prevention, healthy eating, physical activities, community-based participatory research

Cataloged by: Selina Sikder/ B.J. Perkins

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