American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest diabetes prevalence rates of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, and an over 40% obesity rate. Locally, the San Diego American Indian Health Center (SDAIHC) provides medical, dental, behavioral health, and community wellness services to all local residents. Across the street, the San Diego American Indian Health Youth Center (SDAIHYC) offers afternoon and evening opportunities for youth to complete homework assignments, engage in games and activities, choose healthy snacks, and participate in regularly scheduled programs. One of these events is the monthly Youth and Elders’ dinner, where a meal is prepared by the SDAIHYC Manager and youth, and shared among the intergenerational groups, followed by hands-on craft making and a presentation on a pertinent topic. For meal and event planning, the SDAIHYC sought the menu development assistance of the UC San Diego Center for Community Health’s registered dietitian and County of San Diego HHSA’s regional nutrition educator, who they have partnered with in the health arena for many years. Themed months set the stage for healthy menus, such as Bison (or turkey) Wild Rice Burgers and Zucchini with Leeks and Walnuts (Powwow month), and Sloppy Janes and Apple Slaw (summer month). Dinner presentation nutrition topics include healthy eating patterns, navigating nutrition labeling, and a “Fear Factor” food taste test. Introducing healthy menus and nutrition workshops to these intergenerational dinners have been a welcome addition to this high-risk Native community.
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