Utilizing Talking Circles to Identify Wellness Barriers in Rural Native American Communities

By Suzanne Stluka, Lindsay Moore, Shelly Brandenburger, S. Jo Gibson, Emily Kranz and Emily Niswanger.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Barriers to wellness that may contribute to childhood obesity in South Dakota Native American communities are poorly understood. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify barriers to wellness that may contribute to the of etiology childhood obesity in a South Dakota Native American community and explore potential approaches for prevention. Methods: This qualitative study gathered the perceptions of tribal college students and tribal elders regarding nutrition and physical activity utilizing talking circles. A series of nutrition and physical activity related questions were investigated in the talking circles. The talking circles were transcribed and analyzed using Grounded Theory research. Results: Data from the talking circles identified the environment as the core phenomenon and location, family and resources as casual conditions. Talking circle data also elicited several strategies and intervening conditions that impact childhood obesity in the studied populations. Conclusion: The built environment of the studied rural, Native American communities is a contributing factor to childhood obesity. These data can be used to understand the etiology of childhood obesity in the studies rural Native American communities and to create effective sustainable childhood obesity intervention efforts.

Keywords: Child Health, Native American, Rural Health

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 4, Issue 3-4, May 2015, pp.75-83. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 556.733KB).

Suzanne Stluka

Food and Families Program Director, Health and Nutritional Sciences, South Dakota State University Extension, Brookings, SD, USA

Lindsay Moore

Community Food Policy Field Specialist, Health and Nutritional Sciences, South Dakota State University Extension, Brookings, SD, USA

Lindsay Moore is a Community Food Policy Field Specialist with South Dakota State University Extension. Her research interests include food security, food access, nutrition education, physical activity and sedentary time for Native American audiences and children. She holds an M.S. in Nutrition, Exercise and Food Science from South Dakota State University and a B.S. in Kinesiology and Health Promotion from the University of Wyoming. She also holds a certificate in Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention.

Dr. Shelly Brandenburger

Nutrition Instructor, Health and Nutritional Sciences, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA

Dr. S. Jo Gibson

Clinical Assistant Professor and Family Nurse Practitioner, College of Nursing, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD, USA

Dr. S. Jo Gibson, DNP, RN, CNP

Emily Kranz

Aberdeen, SD, USA

Emily Niswanger

Minneapolis, MN, USA