Performance Improvement 2008. What Causes Obesity Among American Indians/Alaska Natives; How to Prevent It?


The purpose of this study was to provide information to help understand the high rates of obesity among American Indians and Alaska Natives, the nature of preventive interventions, and activities pertaining to obesity undertaken by Federal agencies. This was a review of research findings on the prevalence, determinants and consequences of obesity, and the nature and outcomes of clinical and community-based interventions.

Among the findings were that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in American Indian/Alaska Native preschoolers, school-aged children and adults was higher than rates for the total U.S. population. However, there were both regional and tribal variations in prevalence. Determinants included nutrition and diet, physical activity as well as socioeconomic, genetic, and psychosocial factors. Reviews of school and community-based interventions found no significant changes in youth overweight/obesity, but did find changes in knowledge, attitudes or behaviors. Suggestions for future research included studies that identify at-risk groups that can be targeted for early intervention, family processes and behaviors contributing to obesity, and nutrition and physical activity patterns among American Indian/Alaska Native children.

Report Title: Obesity and American Indians/Alaska Natives,
Agency Sponsor: ASPE-OHSP, Office of Human Services Policy
Federal Contact:
Peggy Halpern, 202-260-0285
Performer: Staff of Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
PIC ID: 8759

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