Child & Youth Diabetes Strategy

Project Profile

Project Bhangra: Drawing on cultural traditions to build lifelong exercise habits

University of British Columbia


Focus: Physical activity, community capacity

Target population: South Asian children aged 8-12 years and their families

Reach: Surrey and Delta, BC; school- and home-based

Grant:  $255,000

Project Goal

To design and test an after-school and home-based Bhangra exercise intervention to improve fitness and physical activity in South Asian children, and to build a community infrastructure of capacity and support to ensure long-term sustainability of Project Bhangra.

Project Overview

This UBC project will investigate Bhangra dance as a culturally innovative approach to improve fitness and physical activity in 200 South Asian children from four elementary schools. The intervention consists of after-school Bhangra sessions and home-based video workouts (accessed via website or DVD). Assessments at four time points will measure fitness and physical activity via 20m shuttle run, vertical jump, body mass index, waist circumference, and moderate to vigorous physical activity (measured by Fitbits). By introducing exercise, early on, as a creative and dynamic activity, the team expects to help South Asian children develop and maintain exercise as a lifelong habit.

People of South Asian descent are one of the populations at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its complications, and are diagnosed at a significantly younger age. Moreover, South Asians are the fastest-growing immigrant population with the highest rates of morbidity and mortality associated with diabetes-related cardiovascular disease. Only by intervening early in childhood can we address this serious public health issue. For this reason, this proposal targets South Asian children ages 8-12 at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This application proposes a nested support infrastructure with children at the centre encircled by community partners, including: parents, teachers, and administrators from four elementary and four secondary schools in Surrey and Delta, BC; SFU and UBC Bhangra Clubs; non-profit organizations, and the Fraser Health Authority.



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