Indian Health Service Online Submission, Consultation, and Reporting (OSCAR) System for Evidence Based and Promising Practices, Local Efforts, Policies and Resources. (logo: A Circle of Healthy Initiatives for American Indians and Alaska Natives)

Living Yesterday for Tomorrow

Program Type: Promising Practice -Programs not formally evaluated (or formal evaluation is not yet complete) but identified by experts as programs with results suggesting efficacy and worthy of further study in broader pilot implementation efforts.

Reducing the incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease requires increasing people’s knowledge of healthy lifestyle choices and increasing their physical activity. Data from the Indian Health Service National Patient Information Reporting System indicate that in 2009 the age-adjusted percentage of the population 20 years and older with diagnosed diabetes was 16.1 percent for American Indians and Alaska Natives compared with 7.1 percent among non-Hispanic whites, 11.8 percent among Hispanics, and 12.1 percent among non-Hispanic blacks. In addition, American Indian and Alaska Native youth aged 10-19 were nine times more likely to be diagnosed with type-II diabetes than were non-Hispanic whites in the same age group. Program Description Living Yesterday for Tomorrow [LYFT] was implemented by the Washoe Tribal Health Center to address these two issues. The program employed the Together Raising Awareness for Indian Life [TRAIL] curriculum that was developed by the Indian Health Service [IHS], the National Congress of American Indians [NCAI], Boys & Girls Clubs of America [BGCA], FirstPic, Inc. and Nike, Inc. to reduce the onset of diabetes among Native American youth. The LYFT program supported each colony of the tribe in planning and carrying out different trips and physical fitness activities for youth age 12-18. Emphasis was placed on developing culturally relevant skills within the context of engaging physical activities and learning about nutrition such as hiking, camping, and hunting and gathering. The program focused on healthy lifestyle changes in diet and exercise, building self-esteem and self-confidence, and developing interpersonal and leadership skills. LYFT coordinated and sponsored year-round lifestyle improvement programs for cohorts of youth that participated for the full year. These programs included 3 to 4 nights camping excursions, hiking trips, mountain climbing, nutrition and cooking sessions, fishing, hunting, pine nut picking, acorn gathering, fish basket weaving, and sport teams [boys’ and girls’ softball and basketball]. Participation in these programs resulted in strengthened physical activity endurance as the level and duration of physical challenges increased throughout the year. In addition to exercise programs, an outdoor confidence course, providing healthy options at cultural gatherings, a year-round greenhouse, and cholesterol screenings were also offered through the LYFT program. Program Outcomes LYFT was successful in decreasing the average BMI [age adjusted] from 34.65 to 20.31 over the three-year duration of the program. In addition, LYFT resulted in increased physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables while at the same time reducing the amount of sugary beverages that were consumed. Health education materials that emphasized healthy lifestyle choices were created and disseminated. The LYFT program was also successful in increasing internal capacity of the Washoe Tribal Health Center to conduct risk factor assessments by obtaining cholesterol screening equipment, a stadiometer, an accurate scale, and training to use the equipment. This allowed Health Center staff to monitor program participants’ progress and will provide a basis for measuring community progress over time.

Age Group(s):

Site Type(s):

Health Indicator(s):
Cardiovascular Disease , Diabetes , Health Education , Nutrition , Physical Activity

Service Area:

Public Health intervention

Name: Jacqueline Kizer
Site or Location Name: Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California
919 Highway 395 South
Gardnerville, NV 89410
Phone: 7752658629