Dietary Choices and Weight Control Practices Among Cheyenne River Lakota Households

Year: 1999

Research Center: American Indian Studies Program, The University of Arizona

Investigator: Phillips, John, and John Finn

Institution: Si Tanka College

Project Contact:
John Phillips, M.S.
USDA Tribal College liaison
Room 3428-S South Building
1400 Independence Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20250
202-720-5877 fax


This study describes the prevailing dietary choices and weight control practices among Cheyenne River Lakota households. The authors surveyed a random sample of Cheyenne River Lakota households during the summer of 1999 using a standardized questionnaire and in-person interviews. Follow-up interviews on a random subsample of households helped to verify the questionnaire and sought further information on weight control program preferences.

A total of 216 households participated in the survey. The most frequently consumed high-fat foods included butter/margarine (35 percent > 5 times per week), potato and corn chips (29 percent > 5 times per week), cheese (27 percent > 5 times per week), and hot dogs, bologna, and luncheon meats (26 percent > 5 times per week). Few reported consuming fruits (11 percent > 5 times per week), or vegetables (18 percent > 5 times per week) on a daily basis. Sweetened beverages were consumed frequently, including regular pop (43 percent > 5 times per week) and Kool-Aid® or punch (39 percent > 5 times per week).

Most respondents engaged in mild exercise for at least 30 minutes 3 times per week or more (78 percent). Weight loss or maintenance techniques used frequently included increasing activity levels (59 percent), eating more fruits and vegetables (76 percent), eating less fatty foods (65 percent), eating less sweets (74 percent), and reducing the amount of total food consumed (70 percent). Most individuals (64 percent) were favorable to joining a program that promotes healthy diet and exercise. Major barriers to exercise included lack of time (54 percent) and medical reasons or disabilities (42 percent). Barriers to eating healthful foods included higher costs (50 percent) and unpopularity with the family (40 percent). The authors conclude that nutrition and weight control programs that address these reported barriers and provide incentives for increased participation are needed.