Hope for Health: Evaluation of a Community-led nutrition and lifestyle program for weight loss and metabolic Health (NMHRC)

Hope for Health is a preventative health program run on Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island in North-East Arnhem Land. It has a local Yolŋu steering committee and is part of the Why Warriors Org Ltd. Amongst its many activities, Hope for Health has been conducting health retreats for Yolŋu. These 12-day retreats and associated follow-up activites have been held regularly since 2015. As part of a process of growing the Hope or Health program, the Yolŋu steering committee invited biomedical researchers to gather evidence of the effectiveness of the Hope for Health program.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne received funding from the NHMRC for the project Evaluation of a community-led nutrition and lifestyle program for weight loss and metabolic health: a randomised controlled trial. This study focussed on the potential health gains by participants  in Hope for Health programs, measured through indicators such as weight, blood glucose levels, blood pressure and other key clinical markers.  

Alongside the pre-post intervention study, Ground Up researchers from CDU were invited to work with the steering committee and Yolŋu researchers to undertake a Yolŋu evaluation of the Hope for Health retreat and associated activities. Ground up works with Yolŋu (and other Aboriginal) researchers, under their elders’ authority to undertake research and evaluation which takes seriously local sovereignty, governance, concepts and knowledge practices.