A page from a pamphlet with a photograph of a Native American Man.


follow a diet and exercise program,
and participate in a cultural education
program about their native heritage to
learn more about the healthy lifestyle
of their ancestors.

“We wanted to find out how best to
work with people to bring about
lifestyle changes,” says Dr. Narayan,
co-director of the pilot study.

The two groups in the pilot study
were called Pima Action and Pima
Pride. Volunteers in the Pima Action
group were encouraged to eat a lower-
fat, higher-fiber diet. The staff encour-
aged study participants to increase
their consumption of foods such as
beans, fruits and vegetables, and
suggested recipes that can be prepared
at home. The educational program
included discussing healthy traditional
behaviors that involved nutrition and

Volunteers in the Pima Action group
were also encouraged to exercise three
hours a week. Individuals were ex-
pected to expend additional calories
exercising in leisure and occupational
activities they enjoyed, recording their

activities in a journal. Program staff
met with study volunteers at 3, 6 and
twelve month intervals to measure
their progress. To maintain motivation
and morale, volunteers exercised or
worked in groups when possible, and
were followed by local trained staff.

While Pima Action focused on weight
loss, Pima Pride was an educational
program that encouraged study volun-
teers to discover how their ancestors’
values and lifestyle are relevant to their
lives. Participants in Pima Pride
attended presentations by community
members and others to learn more
about their ancestors’ healthy diets
and lifestyles.

Results from the pilot study have been
promising, says Dr. Narayan. “What
we’ve seen so far indicates that study
participants are eager to try to make
healthy lifestyle changes. Individuals
have been willing to participate in the
study and follow the goals. We’re en-
couraged that the larger study will be

After completing analysis of the data
from the pilot study, the researchers

will make adjustments to the diet/
exercise and cultural education pro-
grams. They are developing an inter-
vention that may combine other
treatments with the best aspects of the
Pima Pride and Pima Action programs.
Recruitment for the study should
begin in 1996.

— Lorraine H. Marchand

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