Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 105, Issue 4, pp e317–e319 | Cite as

The need for culturally safe physical activity promotion and programs

  • Audrey R. GilesEmail author
  • Francine E. Darroch


Cultural safety is an approach currently used in health care that is meant to address health disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and colonizing practices in health care. It has been found to empower patient decision-making and result in a relationship where patients and providers work together towards effective care. In this commentary, we argue that such an approach needs to be employed in physical activity promotion and programs as another way of addressing health disparities that continue to exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Further, we assert that cultural safety can address the critiques that have been made of attempts to use cultural sensitivity, cultural relevancy, and cultural competency training for physical activity providers and in implementing physical activity programs. Cultural safety in physical activity promotion and programs is not only an ethical practice, but also one that has the potential to significantly improve the health of Indigenous peoples, which could lead to related improvements in quality of life, lowering rates of morbidity and mortality, and resulting in considerable savings to the health care sector.

Key Words

Indian North American exercise health promotion 


La sécurisation culturelle est une approche actuellement utilisée dans le domaine de la santé qui vise à aborder les disparités d’état sanitaire entre les populations indigènes et non indigènes et les pratiques colonisatrices dans les soins de santé. On constate qu’elle habilite les patients à prendre des décisions et qu’elle crée une relation de collaboration entre patients et fournisseurs qui favorise l’efficacité des soins. Dans notre commentaire, nous alléguons qu’une telle approche doit être employée pour la promotion et les programmes d’activité physique, car c’est un autre outil pour aborder les disparités d’état sanitaire qui persistent entre les populations indigènes et non indigènes au Canada. De plus, nous faisons valoir que la sécurisation culturelle peut être une réponse aux critiques qui ont été faites des tentatives d’utiliser la sensibilisation aux réalités culturelles, la pertinence culturelle et les compétences culturelles pour former des fournisseurs d’activité physique et mettre en oeuvre des programmes d’activité physique. Intégrée dans la promotion et les programmes d’activité physique, la sécurisation culturelle n’est pas seulement une pratique éthique: elle a aussi le potentiel d’améliorer significativement la santé des populations indigènes, ce qui pourrait entraîner des améliorations connexes de la qualité de vie, réduire les taux de morbidité et de mortalité, et produire des économies considérables dans le secteur des soins de santé.

Mots Clés

Indiens d’Amérique Nord exercice physique promotion de la santé 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Human Kinetics, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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