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Announcements: Native Diabetes Wellness Program Commemorates Native American Heritage Month — November 2011

November is National Native American Heritage Month. American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) adults are twice as likely to have diagnosed diabetes than non-Hispanic whites (1). Among AI/ANs aged ≤35 years, age-adjusted rates of diagnosed diabetes doubled from 8.5 per 1,000 population in 1994 to 17.1 in 2004 (2). In 1997, when Congress funded the Indian Health Service's Special Diabetes Program for Indians and CDC's prevention efforts in tribal communities, tribal representatives advised that "our cultures are the source of health."

Research studies have demonstrated that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle interventions that promote weight loss and physical activity in adults at high risk (3). Guided by the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee and through a partnership with the Indian Health Service, CDC's Native Diabetes Wellness Program (NDWP) developed a series of four Eagle Books for elementary school children about traditional ways of being healthy and preventing type 2 diabetes. The first Eagle Book to bring these prevention messages to middle school children, Coyote and the Turtle's Dream, will be released this month.

NDWP uses varied methods that are respectful of local cultures and geographic diversity to organize, share data, and evaluate programs that support health practices and policies to sustain a healthier environment. NDWP supports 17 cooperative agreements in tribal communities to increase access to traditional foods, physical activity, and social support. Additional information about NDWP is available at


  1. CDC. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2011.
  2. CDC. Diagnosed diabetes among American Indians and Alaska Natives aged <35 years---United States, 1994--2004. MMWR 2006;55:1201--3.
  3. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, et al. Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med 2002;346:393--403.

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