1 Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project
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KSDPP Research

Kahnawake is a Kanien'keha:ka (Mohawk) community of 7200 people (in year 2002) located 15 kilometres south west of Montreal, Canada. The Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project (KSDPP) began in 1994 with NHRDP funding and continues today with CIHR funding for the KSDPP Center for Research & Training.

For KSDPP the long-term goal is to decrease the incidence of Type 2 diabetes through the short-term goals of increasing physical activity and healthy eating. Additional objectives are to incorporate Mohawk traditions and culture, promote community capacity building and program ownership. KSDPP is a participatory research project where the community and researchers are in partnership, each with their own expertise. The community is represented through a Community Advisory Board, and the partnership guidelines are outlined in the KSDPP Code of Research Ethics.

Evaluation of KSDPP includes changes in the elementary school children in Grades 1-6 for knowledge, perceived parental support, anthropometric measurements, eating patterns, physical activity, TV watching and fitness. Evaluation has also followed process changes in the schools and community, researched the evolution of the project itself and the community ownership of the project. Another project (CDA funded) has developed and validated a CD-ROM to evaluate physical activity interactive recall for children in grades 4-6. In addition a youth empowerment project (CDA funded) for those aged 14-18 years seeks to better understand youth perceptions of lifestyle and diabetes and to encourage youth to become role models for diabetes prevention.

The goals for the KSDPP Center for Research & Training funded by CIHR for 2001-2006 are to (a) complete 10 year evaluation of the KSDPP project in Kahnawake, (b) evaluate how the KSDPP project is disseminated and adapted throughout a network of Aboriginal communities in Canada, (c) offer academic training to masters, PhD and postdoctoral students interested in diabetes prevention, and (d) offer training to Aboriginal community researchers.

Modify Lifestyle Habits  back to top

1. Set up a healthy eating environment. Take time out of your schedule to eat a nutritious meal without disturbances. Get friends and family together at meal times. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly without rushing. Individuals who consume meals in front of the television or while surfing the internet tend to overeat. Turn off your phone, which could lead you to mindless eating.

2. Incorporate your healthy eating plan into your social activities. Food tends to play a large role when socializing, but you don't have to sacrifice healthy food just to hang out with friends. Bring healthy food to gatherings and plan activities that feature healthy food. Instead of throwing a barbecue that features meat high in saturated fat and slathered with processed sauces, grill seafood and vegetables instead. Host healthy potlucks featuring homemade guacamole, baked salmon, whole-wheat pasta salad and homemade vegetable soups, for example.

3. Surround yourself with friends and family who are also following a healthy eating plan. It is difficult to incorporate your healthy eating plan into your lifestyle when the people around you engage in junk food love affairs. If you do not have friends and family that eat healthily, join a local group in your area. The internet is saturated with groups that focus on helping you meet other people in your area who also want to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle.

4. Engage in activities where food is not the primary focus. People use food as a way to celebrate, fend off boredom, soothe an aching heart and socialize. When your lifestyle revolves around food, it is harder to stick to your healthy eating plan. Go hiking on the weekends instead of grabbing margaritas and a high-calorie lunch with the girls. Pick up a hobby like painting, biking or crafts. Try gardening and grow some of your own nutritious vegetables and herbs.

5. Make cooking a part of your daily life. The best way to control the ingredients in your food and stick to your healthy eating plan is to prepare your own meals. Try to avoid slaving over the stove alone. Take cooking classes with a friend or your significant other so that you can make cooking fun and engaging. Set up stimulating ways to think about healthy cooking. For example, you can challenge your friends to create 200-calorie snacks. Then have a tasting of all snacks and have everyone vote on which one is best.