Cherokee Nation Launches New Health & Fitness Program to Prevent Diabetes


Cherokee Nation's Vinita Health Center

Cherokee Nation’s Vinita Health Center

Published September 17, 2016

TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation is launching a health and fitness program for about 30 Cherokee Nation citizens to prevent diabetes and other chronic diseases.

The Healthy Native Program will be implemented at the Male Seminary Recreation Center in Tahlequah and the Cherokee Nation Vinita Wellness Center. The Tahlequah program will begin Sept. 27 at noon and Sept. 29 at 6:15 p.m. and will meet every week for the next year. The Vinita program will begin Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m. and will also meet every week for the next year.

Program officials expect to offer the program at more Cherokee Nation health centers starting January 2017.

“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” Cherokee Nation Diabetes Prevention Coordinator Tonya Wapskineh said. “The Healthy Native program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.”

Participants will receive tools and incentives to help make healthier lifestyle choices. Participants will also have a personal lifestyle coach who will help participants reach personal health and weight loss goals.

Participants must be a Male Seminary Recreation Center or Vinita Wellness Center member, a Native American with a CDIB card, 18 years of age or older and have had no diagnosis of diabetes to join the Healthy Native Program.

Participants must also meet other requirements, including a history of gestational diabetes while pregnant or be at high risk according to the CDC prediabetes screening test.

The Healthy Native Program is based on research that shows people with prediabetes who lose up to 7 percent of their body weight by making modest changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.

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