Physical Activity and Nutrition in Cherokee Nation
Physical Education Grants have been present for the last several years to help schools with innovative approaches to health and physical activities that will equip students with the knowledge to be healthy and physically active. Several public schools within the Cherokee Nation have applied and received these grant monies. These schools include Greasy School in Stilwell, Vinita Public Schools in Vinita, Skelly Public School and Watts Public School in Watts, Oklahoma.
The Cherokee Nation has also supplied grant money to area schools for gymnasium equipment in exchange for getting family and community involved in exercise. These gymnasiums are open to the community at certain times in the evening.
The Cherokee Nation’s Healthy Nation Program, funded by the Robert Johnson Foundation, is managed through the Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Office of the Cherokee Nation Health Service, and has been providing service through area schools and other wellness sites since 1992. A positive effect of exercise on preventing health complications has been instilled in all those who have taken part in the program. The elderly, adults, and children within the community have taken an active part in programs that are offered through this program. Some of these activities include the following:
· Sponsorship of the “Wings” Running Club
· Organization of Health Fairs
· Cultural Education/Activities
· Sponsorship of the annual Summer Youth Fitness Camp
· Smoking Cessation
The HP/DP office was recently awarded a grant from Health and Human Services to support President George W. Bush’s Healthier initiative to help Americans live longer healthier lives through the Steps to a Healthier US. “The grant focuses on reducing the burden of diabetes, overweight, obesity and asthma and addressing risk factors such as physical inactivity, poor nutrition and tobacco use (16).”