Journal of Community Health

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 1–10

Primary Prevention for Resettled Refugees from Burma: Where to Begin?


    • Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Meredith Walsh
    • Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
  • Nang H. Tin Maung
    • Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • Clara P. Savage
    • Common Pathways, CHNA 8Worcester Healthy Communities Coalition
  • Suzanne Cashman
    • Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Massachusetts Medical School
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10900-013-9732-7

Cite this article as:
Haley, H., Walsh, M., Tin Maung, N.H. et al. J Community Health (2014) 39: 1. doi:10.1007/s10900-013-9732-7


Developing effective primary prevention initiatives may help recently arrived refugees retain some of their own healthy cultural habits and reduce the tendency to adopt detrimental ones. This research explores recent arrivals’ knowledge regarding eating behaviors, physical activity and sleep habits. Working collaboratively with community members, a healthy living curriculum was adapted and pilot tested in focus groups. A community-engaged approach to revising and implementing a health promotion tool was effective in beginning dialogue about primary prevention among a group of recently arrived refugees from Burma. Seven themes were identified as particularly relevant: food choices, living environment, health information, financial stress, mobility/transportation, social interaction and recreation, and hopes and dreams. Refugees desire more specific information about nutrition and exercise, and they find community health workers an effective medium for delivering this information. The outcomes of this study may inform future targeted interventions for health promotion with refugees from Burma.


Refugee healthPreventionHealthy eatingPhysical activityCommunity-based participatory research

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013