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Prev Chronic Dis. 2006 Jul;3(3):A103. Epub 2006 Jun 15.

Cherokee Choices: a diabetes prevention program for American Indians.

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  • 1Cherokee Choices/REACH 2010, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, PO Box 666, Cherokee, NC 28719, USA.


In 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health 2010 (REACH 2010) funds to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to develop a community-based intervention to improve the health of this rural, mountainous community in North Carolina. During the first year of the Cherokee Choices program, team members conducted formative research, formed coalitions, and developed a culturally appropriate community action plan for the prevention of type 2 diabetes, particularly among children. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has higher rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes than the U.S. and North Carolina general populations. The Cherokee Choices program includes three main components: elementary school mentoring, worksite wellness for adults, and church-based health promotion. A social marketing strategy, including television advertisements and a television documentary series, supports the three components. School policy was altered to allow Cherokee Choices to have class time and after-school time devoted to health promotion activities. School staff have shown an interest in improving their health through attendance at fitness sessions. The credibility of the program has been validated through multiple invitations to participate in school events. Participants in the worksite wellness program have met dietary and physical activity goals, had reductions in body fat, and expressed enthusiasm for the program. A subcoalition has been formed to expand the worksite wellness component and link prevention efforts to health care cost reduction. Participants in the church program have walked more than 31,600 miles collectively.

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