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Spring Symposium on UR and Community Engagement has ended
Tuesday, April 24 • 10:35am - 10:55am
Healthy Foods in Cherokee Childcare Facilities

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Childhood obesity and other diet-related health issues are of concern for American Indians. American Indian children and adolescents are about thirty percent more likely to develop and suffer from obesity when compared to White children and adolescents. The American Indian population, on average, is twice as likely to be diagnosed with Diabetes than any other population in the United States. A promising intervention is in early childhood education centers, including the Dora Reed Center in Cherokee, North Carolina. The purpose of this project was to create a professional development program for the kitchen staff to help increase their knowledge surrounding cultural appropriate and nutritious dishes for the 266 children at the Dora Reed Center. Our methods included: a literature review to understand contributing factors for nutrition-related behaviors; a visit and conversations with center staff; visit to and learning about Rainbow in My Tummy in Black Mountain, and searching for culturally-relevant information. Through this process, our team learned about US Department of Agriculture Food Guidelines for Child Care Facilities, curriculum for preparing foods in child care settings, school-based programs, and cultural issues, such as Colonization’s effect on foods, food access issues, and different Tribal foods. Recommendations include requiring teachers to model healthy eating behaviors, offering alternatives and different food options, purchasing Rainbow in My Tummy and shadowing of the on-site chef, and distribution of calendars and recipes featuring seasonal foods and culturally appropriate dishes. If implemented, these efforts could result in a decrease in childhood obesity and prevention of future diagnoses of Diabetes across the American Indian populations.


Tuesday April 24, 2018 10:35am - 10:55am
406 Sherrill Center