Journal article

Applying community-based system dynamics to address food insecurity in non-remote Indigenous populations in Australia

chronic kidney disease Diet Food accessibility Indigenous health Nutrition Northern Territory

Background: Due to the lack of resources in remote Aboriginal communities within the Northern Territory of Australia, Aboriginal people requiring chronic maintenance hemodialysis often must relocate from their home communities to Darwin city permanently to receive ongoing care. This phenomenon can cause distressing isolation from important traditional food, land, and family.

Objective: The aim was to identify the relation to traditional food from an Aboriginal perspective and the enablers and barriers to accessing traditional food post-relocation from remote regions of the Northern Territory, Australia, to the urban city of Darwin.

Methods: This was a qualitative study design with a total of 12 Aboriginal participants (4 males, 8 females) receiving ongoing hemodialysis at the Nightcliff Renal Unit. Data analysis comprised an inductive thematic analysis approach with an indigenist knowledge interpretation lens to construct, reaffirm, and protect Indigenous views.

Results: Traditional food was an important part of participants’ identity and strongly connected to social, emotional, spiritual and physical health, and well-being. Access to traditional food post-relocation is associated with enablers and barriers including mobility, local knowledge, social support networks, commercial access, and economics.

Conclusions: Dialysis patients who are dislocated from remote Aboriginal communities to Darwin experience clear disruption to traditional food access, consumption, availability, and knowledge dissemination to the younger generations.

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