HP/DP Wellness Program: Montana State University-Bozeman

Nutrition Grant

Introduction


The Health Promotion / Disease Prevention office focuses on the health disparities inflicting the people of the Fort Peck Tribes and creates and facilitates different approaches to help prevent such occurrences from happening. It has been recognized that the Fort Peck Tribe is undergoing a health crisis with the top deaths being chronic disease (preventable). Wellness programs will be targeting the Fort Peck Reservation school children and their families. Medicaid populations and high risk children and families will be our first target as they are at the greatest risk for disease and unhealthy lifestyles.

Current Situation

Current data indicates that the top health concerns for the Fort Peck Reservation include heart disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and behavioral health problems. Current leading research shows that for Native American children and their families the reasons for our current health problems are lack of physical activity, inappropriate diet, unemployment and a lack of purpose or identity in life. Cancer is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Native Americans today (DiNois, Schinke, & Contento, 2005).

Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce this risk in addition to eating a diet low in fats and high in fiber. Prevention of health problems is the best way to fight against an illness. While it is well known that age and hereditary causes for health problems including cancer cannot be changed, diet and exercise are the number one things that can and should be changed. Diabetes has been a problem for Native Americans in general but an increasing and alarming rate of children and adolescents are now being affected by early onset type II diabetes. Guidelines have been established and recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics in order to combat this new morbidity (Gahagan, Silverstein, and Committee on Native American Health, 2003).

Solution

The best place to make a difference in our community is to start with our children. The elders in our community are taking the lead by bringing back our traditional ways and standing up for our children. We intend to follow their lead and continue to work alongside the elders in an effort to change our current health and wellness. The past ways of our Assiniboine and Sioux tribes have the answers to our current problems. The solution comes in using the past ways to accomplish our healthcare goals of today. This program will implement cultural and traditional Native American ways including Dakota language.

Objectives

To develop an awareness of healthy lifestyles this can be used throughout the lifespan of each child and their family.

To increase activity of all children and their families through routine exercise.

To create a sense of identity and promote a sense of community for each child and their families.

To promote healthy dietary patterns in all children and their families across the Fort Peck Reservation.

To decrease sugar-containing drinks and increase water and/or 100% juice intake.

To increase awareness of breastfeeding by means of education and developing a support group for women and teen girls.

To increase breastfeeding on Fort Peck Reservation.

To provide opportunities for families to engage in physical activities together while enjoying their Assiniboine & Sioux traditions and culture.

Fort Peck Tribes HP/DP
Wellness Program
P.O. Box 1027
200 G Street East
Poplar, Montana 59255

Phone: (406) 768-3383
Fax: (406) 768-3383

Email: krsmoker@yahoo.com