Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds: First Nations Cohort Study Rationale and Design
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BACKGROUND: This is the first national indigenous cohort study in which a common, in-depth protocol with a common set of objectives has been adopted by several indigenous communities across Canada. OBJECTIVES: The overarching objective of the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds (CAHHM) cohort is to investigate how the community-level environment is associated with individual health behaviors and the presence and progression of chronic disease risk factors and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer. METHODS: CAHHM aims to recruit approximately 2,000 First Nations indigenous individuals from up to nine communities across Canada and have participants complete questionnaires, blood collection, physical measurements, cognitive assessments, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). RESULTS: Through individual- and community-level data collection, we will develop an understanding of the specific role of the socioenvironmental, biological, and contextual factors have on the development of chronic disease risk factors and chronic diseases. CONCLUSIONS: Information collected in the indigenous cohort will be used to assist communities to develop local management strategies for chronic disease, and can be used collectively to understand the contextual, environmental, socioeconomic, and biological determinants of differences in health status in harmony with First Nations beliefs and reality.