Promoting Healthy Food Choices and Physical Activity in a Rural American Indian Community

Course Summary:

Since the 1990s, American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities have seen an increase in health promotion programs that teach healthy food choices and support physical activity as strategies to decrease risk factors and manage type 2 diabetes. For the most part, these programs have been grounded in theories of individual behavior change using case management and group and one-on-one education. In more than 25 years, these programs have had limited impact on behavior change and subsequent rates of diabetes in AIAN communities. Few programs have recognized and integrated distinctive characteristics of many AIAN communities, specifically the value placed on shared identity, group cohesion and collective resilience. This presentation will share strategies implemented in one American Indian community that strive to make healthy food choices and physical activity a community responsibility, not individual challenge.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain why approaches to individual health behavior change are misaligned with AIAN values.
  • Identify 2-3 examples of strategies designed to change food behaviors in families and communities.
  • Explain how using cultural assets can contribute to the relevance and sustainability of nutrition interventions.

Presenter:

 Dr. Teufel-Shone is a professor and program director of the Univeristy of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health’s Family and Child Health concentration. She co- leads the National Institute of Health (NIH) funded Center of American Indian Resilience (CAIR), that strives to understand, integrate and disseminate culturally informed strategies to achieve health equity. For 30 years, she has worked with several tribes in Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma to develop effective health promotion programs that support healthy food choices and physical activity to prevent diabetes and heart disease. She and her colleagues in tribal communities have emerged as leaders in community-based participatory research and have designed and implemented research-service programs.

Continuing Education Information:  1.0 CECH 

CHES Provider number:  99036

Disclosures:  The planners, reviewers, and authors have no declared conflicts of interest

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