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Obesity and American Indians/Alaska Natives

Publication Date

Prepared for: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Prepared by: Peggy Halpern, Ph.D.


This report was produced under the direction of Jerry Regier, Principal Deputy/Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Executive Summary (in PDF format -  8 pages)


The author, Peggy Halpern of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), would like to acknowledge the assistance of many individuals who contributed to this report. Key informants from various government agencies gave generously of their time and provided a wealth of information about their current activities. These informants are listed in the reference section at the end of each agency's write-up.

Contributing agencies from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services include the Indian Health Service; the National Institutes of Health including the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the National Heart and Lung and Blood Institute (NHLB); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the Office on Women's Health. In addition the U.S. Department of Agriculture contributed.

Special thanks to Candace Jones and Dealva Honahnie who facilitated the author's site visit to the Gila River Indian Community and to Loren Ellery and Carol Schurz from Gila River who organized and facilitated the site visit. Key informants from the Tribe, the Health Corporation, and NIDDK's Phoenix Branch are listed in the reference section of the Gila River write-up.

Thanks to staff from ASPE who contributed to the development and review of this report. Canta Pian, director, Division of Economic Support for Families in ASPE supported the idea for and implementation of this project from the very beginning as did Barbara Broman, Deputy to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy and Jerry Regier, Principal Deputy ASPE. The author collaborated with staff from ASPE's Office of Health Policy including Tom Hertz, Wilma Tilson and Sue Clain who provided expertise and valuable feedback. Finally, special thanks to Jana Liebermann, librarian at ASPE's Policy Information Center who provided invaluable assistance in obtaining research articles pertaining to obesity and AI/ANs throughout this project.

American Indian & Alaska Native People (AI-AN)
Location- & Geography-Based Data
Tribal Communities