First Nations Elders in Northwestern Ontario’s perspectives of health, body image and eating disorders

Taslim Alani-Verjee, Peter Braunberger, Tina Bobinski, Christopher Mushquash


Health, healthy eating, and ideal body image often have been conceptualised from a Eurocentric perspective. Indigenous perspectives may differ, and are necessary to better conceptualise eating disorders among Indigenous peoples. Five First Nations Elders from Northwestern Ontario were interviewed to gain a better understanding of these concepts, and how they may relate to the well-being of youth. Results demonstrate the importance of conceptualising health holistically; the impacts of colonisation on health, well-being, and understandings of self; how the relationships among food, health, and nutrition are complex; and that ideal bodies often have been equated with health and balance. Moreover, participants described how these findings may influence youth and their well-being. This paper demonstrates that, in order to better support the health, well-being, and body satisfaction of First Nations youth, it is essential to understand how these are defined, and how different factors may be of influence.


Healthy eating, body image, health, First Nations Elders, eating disorders

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