Cherokee men and women are twice as likely to be obese as members of other racial and ethnic groups in North Carolina
The prevalence rate of type 2 diabetes among Cherokee men and women combined is 23.8%. This rate is more than three times the combined rate for men and women from all other racial and ethnic groups in North Carolina.
Cherokee Choices / REACH works to mobilize the community to confront environmental and biological factors that put Cherokee people at higher risk for diabetes.
The cornerstones of this program are listening to the community and providing social support to increase physical activity and promote well-being and healthy choices, which can reduce the risk for obesity and diabetes. This approach makes Cherokee Choices different from the top-down programs typically provided by social service agencies.
Our efforts include addressing issues related to racism and mental health; creating a supportive environment for community participation; and developing policies for schools, work sites, and churches that promote positive health changes.
Mentors work with elementary school children and staff to develop lesson plans on self-esteem, cultural pride, conflict resolution, emotional well-being and health knowledge. There is also a weekly after-school program to enhance teamwork, cultural awareness, and physical health.
AT CHURCH AND WORK
Nutritionists, dietitians, and fitness workers help tribal members participate in activities at their churches and work sites that are designed to help them reduce stress, eat healthier foods and increase their physical activity levels.
GETTING THE WORD OUT LOCALLY
• "Living with Diabetes" published monthly in Cherokee One Feather
• Cherokee Central School System
• Cherokee Hospital
• Cherokee Diabetes Clinic
• Community Club Council
• Cherokee Human Resources
• Healthy Cherokee
• Cherokee Central School System Board
• United Methodist Church
• Latter Day Saints
• Cherokee Tribal Planning Office
• Multiple Cherokee work sites
Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health is a community-based public health program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities.
To learn more about Cherokee Choices: A Diabetes Prevention Program for American Indians, click here for an in-depth article published in Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC).