National Academy of Medicine

Investing in Native Community-Led Strategies to Improve Physical Activity

By Donald Warne, Olivia Roanhorse
April 06, 2015 | Commentary

Native Americans represent approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population, but account for some of the worst health outcomes related to preventable chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, alcoholism) than any other racial or ethnic group. In considering the risk factors for these diseases, Native American people have among the highest rates of obesity, with many children experiencing obesity rates two to three times greater than other racial/ethnic populations. But this was not always the case. Only in the last half of the 20th century have the documented cases of diabetes rates in Native communities increased so drastically.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.