1 Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project
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About the Intervention Program

The KSDPP program of intervention activities takes a holistic approach to preventing diabetes in the community by embedding intervention activities which include a health education program, recreational activities, and community based activities all within the overall goal of Living in Balance.

Living in Balance reflects being well in mind, body, emotion and spirit. KSDPPs messages are rooted in this traditional philosophy of health and were realized through program objectives aimed at promoting active living, promoting eating in balance, and raising diabetes awareness.

Intervention Objectives

  1. To continue and improve curriculum activities for Kahnawake school children.
  2. To reinforce a supportive school environment by maintaining and expanding interventions to all Kahnawake schools.
  3. Provide diabetes prevention activities for families and community in collaboration with local organizations.
  4. Continue capacity building and sustainability efforts within Kahnawake.
  5. To share and expand upon the experiences of Kahnawake diabetes initiatives within Kahnawake.

Key messages are attached to the above objectives:

Promoting Active Living:

  • Participation in regular physical activity, participation in a variety of physical activities, and fitting physical activity into daily living.

Promoting Eating in Balance:

  • Having a regular eating patterns (e.g.,meal pattern) , making healthy food choices, and eating healthy meals (e.g, portion size, food groups).

Raising Diabetes Awareness:

  • Conveying the seriousness of the disease, the preventability of the disease and assessing personal risk of diabetes

School Based Intervention   back to top


 school intervention 1

The KSDPP school-based intervention involves introducing new lessons (Health Education Program) , increasing physical activity and strengthening nutrition policy within community schools. A hands-on, interactive approach.... congruent with native culture and learning styles is used.

Since KSDPP's intervention in the schools physical activity has increased. More time is now devoted to organized sports and to exercise in the classroom. Major new events were also organized such as the annual schools "Racers for Health" one mile run. Each age group competed separately and all participants,as well as the winners, were awarded.

RFH Intervention


The most significant new physical activity was a daily 20 minute walk around the school. Teachers, many of whom also participated, said the children complained at first but quickly developed the habit. They said student attitudes and performance improved as a result.

Getting teachers on side was the key to introducing new lessons and increasing physical activity. The importance of the teacher's role in improving community health was emphasized during in-service training. They were also urged to keep a calendar of activities and through a series of incentives, were rewarded for their efforts.

Also the schools have adopted a hard line on junk food. The school canteen only serves healthy snacks now. Any food or drinks considered unhealthy, like soda pop, candy or chips, end up in the garbage, or are sent back home. Many teachers became role models since students were watching what they ate as well. Students, parents and teachers took a few months to adapt, but now healthier lifestyles are routine.

Community Based Intervention   back to top

The promotion of healthy family lifestyles outside of the schools was designed to have a ripple effect. The community-based intervention supports the parents who, in turn, reinforce what the children have picked up in school.

Most Adults turned out to be receptive to the project and the community-based component grew rapidly.

Kahnawake has a long tradition of organized recreation. A key feature of the project strategy was building on existing healthy lifestyles and institutions. Two dozen, or about half of the organizations, embrace the project goals.

The project partnered with a group to develop a bicycle and walking path. It also supported gymnastics and line-dancing clubs, and a volleyball team. Exercise classes were organized.

The Youth Center was one of the project's key partners. Paddling, biking, Winter Carnival, provision of healthier foods at the canteen are all areas of collaboration. The expansion of the Mohawk Miles walking club was perhaps the greatest achievement of co-sponsoring.

Walking is a year-round activity and participation increased 5 fold.

To encourage family recreation and healthy eating, new activities were also organized. Families were involved in monthly events including sledding, bowling at the local lanes, ice-skating and hiking. The arena was taken over for a day of family broomball. At all the events nutritious foods were served.

Healthy eating was also widely encouraged. Alternatives to Halloween candy were promoted at the Harvest Fair in collaboration with the environment office. Healthy foods were served at community events like the annual Clean-up Day and blood donor clinics, as well as the community meals like the spaghetti lunch, or the paddling club. Zucchini and chili cook-offs and community gardens were organized to promote the "Three Sisters" of traditional Mohawk food: Corn, Beans and Squash.

Quick Links:
About the Intervention Program
School Based Intervention
Community Based Intervention

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