University of Tasmania

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Digital health technologies, physical activity and Indigenous women’s wellbeing: enabling possibilities?

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 19:38 authored by Hazel MaxwellHazel Maxwell

As the growth and popularity of digital health technologies continues to accelerate so too does societal, governmental and academic attention. Highlighting its pervasiveness and influence Rich and Miah (2017, p. 1) contend that studying mHealth is fast becoming ‘a global priority, especially where resources are limited and where more people have access to a mobile device than a hospital or clinic’. Drawing on a strengths-based empowerment approach and Indigenous traditions of ‘yarning’, this research explores how digital health technologies might contribute to Indigenous Australian women’s increased participation in physical activity in leisure settings.

Despite the take up of mobile and allied technologies among indigenous populations and not withstanding complex issues relevant to access and opportunity no previous studies have addressed how these technologies influence physical activity among this population and there is limited research about Indigenous Australian people’s leisure experiences and the meanings they attribute to them. Accordingly, by drawing on an empowerment framework and privileging indigenous Australian women’s experiences we consider how digital health trackers and allied technological developments might be developed and enabled in ways which benefit them as individual women and their communities. This conceptual and practical departure point provides an important and potentially impactful platform for change. Namely, a strengths based empowerment approach extends current approaches which focus on deficit reporting. Further, by privileging these women’s voices and exploring their experiences and interpretations the normative status of Anglo western sport, leisure and physical activity might be usefully disrupted. That is for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the concept of physical activity is not thought of in the same way as for other Australians.


Australia and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies


Publication title

3rd Advancing Community Cohesion Conference


School of Health Sciences

Event title

3rd Advancing Community Cohesion Conference

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Date of Event (End Date)


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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Health inequalities; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status and outcomes

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