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Milwaukee WOLFE (Work out, Low Fat for Elders) program

Program Type: Local Effort - Programs and/or activities that have not been evaluated but are identified by local programs as producing positive results.

The objective of the Milwaukee WOLFE (Work out, Low Fat for Elders) program is to prevent & control Type 2 Diabetes and to maintain heart health by promoting & supporting healthy lifestyles for weight control, increased physical activity, and better nutrition in the urban Native American Elder population of Milwaukee County.

Milwaukee’s WOLFE (Work Out, Low Fat for Elders) program is collaboration between the Gerald L Ignace Indian Health Center (GLIIHC) and the Indian Council of the Elderly with the aim of improving the health & well being of urban Native American Elders. Weekly fitness, nutrition education, and healthy cooking class sessions support the prevention & control of type 2 diabetes and the maintenance of heart health.

Originally part of a larger research effort, independent testing performed by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee showed improvements in health indicators attributed to a year of participation of the project. After the initial success of the 2004-2005 program, grant funding was secured for another 3 years to continue the wellness effort. The primary goal of the project are to connect Milwaukee Indian Elders to a health & wellness effort by promoting physical activity as a primary choice for reducing risk for and development of chronic conditions and behaviors. The secondary goal of the project is to maintain cultural appropriateness.

The WOLFE program has entered its third year with many of the original participants as well as new faces. Weekly sessions start with a one-hour fitness class led by GLIIHC’s qualified fitness consultant. Fitness activities usually include cardiovascular exercise along with People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) training but have been known to explore swimming, walking, & tai chi. Fitness is followed by a two hour nutrition & cooking class led by GLIIHC’s registered dietitian. The class includes time to share the healthy meal the WOLFE members have just learned to prepare. Nutrition classes aim to incorporate traditional Native American foods in learning sessions. Sessions explore reoccurring themes such as healthy fats, whole grains, increasing flavor without added fat and sodium, lean sources of protein, food as medicine, seasonal eating, budgeting healthy foods, and more. WOLFE members have enjoyed field trips to parks, public markets, and urban ecology centers.

Age Group(s):

Site Type(s):

Health Indicator(s):
Diabetes , Physical Activity

Service Area:

Behavioral health/behavioral change


Name: Jennifer Casey, RD, CD
Site or Location Name: Gerald L Ignace Indian Health Center
1711 South 11th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53207
Phone: 414-383-9526