Public Health Agency of Canada announces funding for Atii! Let's Do It! A comprehensive healthy-living intervention for children, youth and families in Inuit communities in Nunavut

July 16, 2013

NEW Project: Atii! Let’s Do It! A comprehensive healthy-living intervention for children, youth and families in Inuit communities in Nunavut

This project is a joint initiative of the Arviat Community Wellness Centre and the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The purpose of this project is to improve the ability of Inuit children to make healthy choices about food and activity and carry health knowledge forward with them into adolescence and adulthood; to improve health literacy in Inuktitut; to engage children and caregivers in a fun, team-style health promotion game; to promote and evaluate a local intervention developed by young, motivated Inuit youth workers in Nunavut.; to support and train youth to lead, implement and deliver the interventions.

The mandate of the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre is to improve northern health outcomes through research and program development - this network is and must be a community driven, northern lead, health and wellness research network that facilitates the identification of and action on health priorities to address health disparities of Nunavummiut. The Arviat Wellness Centre has teamed up with this project for the implementation of the This project is a group effort and includes partners at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.; Qikiqtani Inuit Association; and University of Manitoba.

In the first phase of the project, we are worked together to improve and validate the health and nutrition-related content of the game; to formalize the game with the development of a manual in English and Inuktitut for the game's operation; fine-tuned the Atii! wheel and posters; and created game trivia cards with questions and answers in Inuktitut. We piloted the game in Apex and Arviat in Fall 2011; and evaluated the game and the process followed by the partners. The evaluation format included written and oral evaluations, sharing circles, and group dialogue with teachers and students, as well as the use of pedometers to monitor physical activity.

At the same time, the community of Arviat was funded separately to conduct a community research study exploring the eating habits of the families, food access and nutrient intake. The project also saw a gorup of youth work on health promotion messages for the community that were responsive to Inuit perspectives on wellness.

In Phase 2 the 2 projects have come together to further our objectives and to expand the Atii! Healthy Living Research Programme:

  • To explore the social and cultural significance (as perceived by community members, families and children) of implementing an intervention to promote healthy weights, through physical activity and nutrition, that was designed by and for Inuit youth and that is founded on Inuit knowledge, foods, and language.
  • To explore the social and cultural elements of the intervention that generate the greatest positive response from children and their families in order to inform a growing body of literature that focuses on ‘cultural adaptation’ of or ‘culturally informed’ interventions.
  • To explore and identify key social determinants of children’s health specific to Nunavut communities (connects to Child and Youth Mental Health and Wellness Project), particularly related to nutrition, food security and obesity.

Within these objectives, we aim to accomplish 5 specific tasks:

  • To improve the ability of Inuit families to make healthy choices about food and physical activity in order to foster healthy body weights.
  • To improve health literacy in Inuktitut
  • To engage children, parents and guardians in a fun, culturally relevant health promotion activity in school settings
  • To explore an avenue to help increase opportunities for children and youth to learn vital traditional harvesting skills
  • To hire and train youth to lead and implement the intervention development and delivery

The Atii! Gameshow has been piloted in Apex, Arviat, Cambridge Bay and Gjoa Haven in Spring 2013. The evaluation of the Young Hunters Support Program is now underway. The Arviat Youth Media club is developing story boards for the Atii! Gameshow iPad app and creating video-shorts of the Atii! Gameshow in action.

The overarching framework for the evaluation of this projects follows the Evaluation Framework for Obesity Prevention Policy Interventions (Leeman et al, 2012). Dr. Tracey Galloway (University of Manitoba) and Dr. Kue Young (University of Toronto) provide expertise and leadership to develop and implement an appropriate evaluation based on this guiding framework.

For more information: Lissie Anaviapik, Family Health Research Coordinator, Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre,, 867-975-2523