ONE STEP at a time, Indigenous women are walking toward good health.
Started by HealthWise New England North West, the women’s walking group is encouraging Aboriginal ladies to get back on their feet.
“We’re walking with Aboriginal people, getting back out on country to walk is great,” Aboriginal Outreach Worker Tara Anderson said.
We’re walking with Aboriginal people, getting back out on country to walk is great.Tara Anderson
“Aboriginals have a higher rate of getting diabetes through genetics so we’re aiming to get the management of that under control.
“It’s a safe environment for Aboriginal women to get together and talk, at HealthWise we cater for Indigenous clients so we deal with a lot of chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer and asthma.”
The group started in October and already has a dozen pedestrians signed up.
Type Two diabetes disproportionately affects Indigenous Australians, especially those living in rural or remote areas, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data reveals.
The death rates as a result of diabetes are four times higher for Indigenous people.
So, the walking group is an opportunity for the women to chat about issues that affect them while getting some beneficial exercise in.
Emma Richards was one of the group’s first members and it was important to her to focus on her health.
“It’s good to get out of the house and get socialising, I didn’t know any of these other women but it has been good to get to know them,” she said.
HealthWise already runs fitness and lifestyle programs for men, elders with chronic illness and hydrotherapy.
There was a gap in service for Aboriginal women looking to improve their health Ms Anderson said.
“Personally I like being outdoors in the open, I’d say they’d be the same – the women have mentioned they love the social benefit of getting out and improved wellbeing,” she said.
“There was a need to get women together.”
And, given rates of exercising in the Indigenous population, it’s hoped the group will encourage others to get involved.
At least 62 per cent of Indigenous Australian aged 18 to 64 reportedly don’t do any exercise, or not enough in the week according to 2012 AIHW self-reported data.
The Indigenous Women’s Walking Group has been running since October and will wrap up in four weeks.