There is growing recognition that policymakers can promote access to healthy, affordable foods within neighborhoods, schools, childcare centers, and workplaces. Despite the disproportionate risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes among American Indian children and adults, comparatively little attention has been focused on the opportunities tribal policymakers have to implement policies or resolutions to promote access to healthy, affordable foods. This paper presents an approach for integrating formative research into an action-oriented strategy of developing and disseminating tribally led environmental and policy strategies to promote access to and consumption of healthy, affordable foods. Using community-based participatory research and informed by the Social Cognitve Theory and ecologic frameworks, the American Indian Healthy Eating Project was started in fall and has evolved through five phases: 1 starting the conversation; 2 conducting multidisciplinary formative research; 3 strengthening partnerships and tailoring policy options; 4 disseminating community-generated ideas; and 5 accelerating action while fostering sustainability. Collectively, these phases helped develop and disseminate Tools for Healthy Tribes —a toolkit used to raise awareness among participating tribal policymakers of their opportunities to improve access to healthy, affordable foods. Formal and informal strategies can engage tribal leaders in the development of culturally appropriate and tribe-specific sustainable strategies to improve such access, as well as empower tribal leaders to leverage their authority toward raising a healthier generation of American Indian children. Even though calls for government obesity prevention action have increased over the past 5 years, the role of tribal governance is often overlooked. The Supreme Court determined in that the Constitution afforded federally recognized tribes certain inherent rights of self-government and entitlement to federal benefits, services, and protections. An 8-year obesity prevention program called Pathways was designed specifically to address the alarming rates of obesity among American Indian schoolchildren. No changes in obesity prevalence rates were found.
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