The American Indian population in the United States faces significant health disparities compared to the general population (Larson et al., 2013). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the American Indian population has higher rates of diabetes, obesity, and tobacco use (HHS, n.d.). These health issues can be addressed through evidence-based health promotion programs that focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle.
One key aspect of health promotion for the American Indian population is healthy nutrition. This involves promoting a diet that is low in fat and sugar and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Traditional foods and cultural practices can also be incorporated into health promotion programs to ensure they are culturally appropriate and acceptable to the community (Larson et al., 2013). Educating the population about nutrition and providing resources, such as healthy recipes and cooking classes, can help individuals make healthier food choices and improve their overall health.
Physical activity is another important component of health promotion for the American Indian population. Encouraging individuals to engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, jogging, or participating in traditional activities like powwows or dancing, can help prevent obesity and improve overall physical health (Larson et al., 2013). Providing access to safe and culturally appropriate exercise facilities, community programs, and sports teams can support individuals in adopting and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Smoking is a major health issue among the American Indian population, with higher rates of tobacco use compared to the general population (HHS, n.d.). Health promotion programs should focus on tobacco cessation by providing culturally sensitive counseling, support groups, and access to nicotine replacement therapies. It is important to address the underlying factors that contribute to tobacco use, such as stress, and provide alternative coping mechanisms, such as physical activity and stress reduction techniques (Larson et al., 2013).
An evidence-based approach to health promotion for the American Indian population is crucial to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of programs. Collecting and analyzing data on health outcomes, behaviors, and determinants specific to the population can inform the development and implementation of tailored interventions (Larson et al., 2013). Collaborating with the community and engaging community members in the planning and implementation process can increase the relevance and acceptance of health promotion programs (HHS, n.d.).
In conclusion, the American Indian population faces significant health issues, including diabetes, obesity, and tobacco use. These health issues can be addressed through evidence-based health promotion programs that focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle. Key components of health promotion for the American Indian population include healthy nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco cessation. Culturally appropriate and community-engaged approaches are essential to ensuring the effectiveness and sustainability of these programs. By addressing these health issues and promoting a healthy lifestyle, the overall health of the American Indian population can be improved.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Health Promotion. Retrieved March 20, 2020, from https://www.hhs.gov/healthypeople/2020/topics-objectives/topic/health-promotion/index.html
Larson, A., Gillies, M., Howard, P. J., Coffin, J., Itty, T. L., Cadzow, R., & Canuto, C. (2013). ‘We want to be heard, to be tribal citizens, to be counted’: The Mulicultural Governance of Genetic Research Involving Indigenous Peoples. In R. DeCillia & J. P. Sawchuk (Eds.), Engendering Transitions: Gender equality and cultural change in the Americas (pp. 147-172). University of Toronto Press.