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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Kendra Kattelmann


Background: High levels of obesity-related health disparities are common among American Indian (AI) populations. AI public university students often face unique challenges that may contribute to health disparities. Few healthy lifestyle interventions have been developed that meet the needs of AI public university students. Objective: Determining how to tailor Project Young Americans Eating and Active for Health (YEAH), a web-delivered health-maintenance tool, to be culturally relevant to Northern Plains AI (AI) public university students. Methods: Focus groups (N=15) and in-depth interviews (N=11) were conducted with self-identified AI college students on the campus of South Dakota State University. Participants were recruited with assistance from the American Indian Education and Cultural Center and through campus publicity. Recorded sessions were transcribed and multistep coding was used to assess the functionality and cultural acceptability of the website. Results: Findings indicate that AI public university students have specific and culturally influenced imagery and symbolism preferences. Depending on cultural tradition, AI students vary in health factors related to food preferences and exposures, physical activities, perception of time management, social support, stressors and stress relief methods. Conclusions: Using thoughts, opinions and ideas derived from AI health intervention participants is the best method of creating the most culturally appropriate online health maintenance intervention.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Indian college students -- Health and hygiene -- Great Plains
Indian college students -- Nutrition -- Great Plains
Physical fitness
Health promotion
Health behavior


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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