The University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension (henceforth referred to as “Cooperative Extension”), and our partners, are well-positioned to successfully carry out the strategies and interventions detailed in the High Obesity Program (HOP) DP18-1809 notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). Cooperative Extension has decades of experience working with families, youth, community, state and Tribal partners and implementing multi-level programs addressing behavior change at the individual, organizational and community level. Our work is guided by our commitment to equity and sustained relationships with communities. We value authentic partnerships and believe community voices are critical to collective success.
Menominee County/Nation is the only eligible Wisconsin county for the HOP, with an obesity rate of 42.8. Menominee County is rural and is essentially coterminous with the boundaries of the federally recognized Menominee Indian Reservation. Over 85% of the county population identifies as Native American and 33% of the population lives below the poverty line (US Census Bureau, 2017). Since the inception of the County Health Rankings, Menominee County has ranked 72 of 72 counties (UW Population Health Institute, 2018). The historical trauma and colonization efforts that have occurred in Native populations have likely contributed to the high burden of obesity that is observed today in Menominee County/Nation. While burdened by disproportionate rates of poor health outcomes compared to white counterparts, the Menominee people are resilient and are creating a culture of health guided by indigenous practices.
The primary purpose of the Kemamaceqtaq project is to address disparities in diet-related chronic disease experienced by Native Americans by implementing and evaluating evidence-based and practice-tested policy, systems and environmental change strategies to increase access to places that provide healthier foods and safe and accessible places for physical activity grounded in indigenous cultures, language and tradition. A secondary purpose of this project is to advance community-driven practice-tested evidence for centering of indigenous cultures, language and traditions as strategies for community revitalization and health promotion.
This funding will enhance existing initiatives and apply evidence and practice-based activities that support healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. It will include a variety of cross-cutting activities that build on existing obesity prevention efforts and efforts to reduce health disparities in Wisconsin. Throughout this proposal, we center the voices of the Menominee people through an intergenerational approach and engage Tribal members (including elders and youth) as leaders to identify and promote policy, systems and environmental change strategies to increase access to places that provide healthier foods and safe and accessible places for physical activity.
Kemamaceqtaq project will focus on the following four strategies, which have been informed through community-based assets and needs assessment processes led by the Menominee County Cooperative Extension office and our partners, Menominee Wellness Initiative and Menikanaehkem: 1) Collaborate with partners to establish healthier food procurement practices. 2) Establish nutrition standards in key community settings, including the Menominee Tribe, afterschool and recreation centers, food pantries, senior meal sites, concession stands, and Tribal, county and local government meetings and events. 3) Improve access to healthier foods at community venues and events and local programs. 4) Collaborate with partners to establish new or improved active transit systems using indigenous design strategies.