Objectives: Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project is a 3-year community-based, primary prevention program for non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in a Mohawk community near Montreal, Canada. Objectives are to improve healthy eating and encourage more physical activity among elementary school children.
Methods: Intervention incorporates behavior change theory, Native learning styles, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, and a health promotion planning model. Evaluation uses a mixed longitudinal and cross-sectional design to measure obesity, fitness, eating habits, and physical activity of elementary school children in the experimental and comparison communities. Intermediate variables are self-efficacy and perceived parental support. Process evaluation provides feedback to the intervention.
Results: During 3 years, 63 distinct interventions that included a Health Education Program reinforced by school events, a new Community Advisory Board, a recreation path, and community-based activities promoting healthy lifestyles were implemented. Baseline consent rates were 87 and 71% in the experimental and comparison schools. As expected, anthropometric data increase with age. Between 9 and 10 years there are increased weight, height, BMI, and skinfold thicknesses; decreased fitness; and increased television watching.
Conclusions: Implementing a Native community-based diabetes prevention program is feasible through participatory research that incorporates Native culture and local expertise.