Title: Cherokee Choices

Cherokee men and women are twice as likely to be obese as members of other racial and ethnic groups in North Carolina The prevalence rate of type 2 diabetes among Cherokee men and women combined is 23.8%. This rate is more than three times the combined rate for men and women from all other racial and ethnic groups in North Carolina.


Cherokee Choices works to mobilize the community to confront environmental and biological factors that put Cherokee people at higher risk for diabetes.

The cornerstones of this program are listening to the community and providing social support to increase physical activity and promote well-being and healthy choices, which can reduce the risk for obesity and diabetes. This approach makes Cherokee Choices different from the top-down programs typically provided by social service agencies.

teens tying up beans in gardenOur efforts include addressing issues related to racism and mental health; creating a supportive environment for community participation; and developing policies for schools, work sites, and churches that promote positive health changes.

young girl in tomato patchIN SCHOOLS
Mentors work with elementary school children and staff to develop lesson plans on self-esteem, cultural pride, conflict resolution, emotional well-being and health knowledge. There is also a weekly after-school program to enhance teamwork, cultural awareness, and physical health.

teens eating healthy lunchAT WORK
Nutritionists, dietitians, and fitness workers help tribal members participate in activities at their work sites that are designed to help them reduce stress, eat healthier foods and increase their physical activity levels.

All EBCI Tribal Employees receive 15 minutes of administrative leave daily for physical activity (with supervisor's approval). Check out this 30 sec video clip to see the great opportunity for fitness in Cherokee!

teenager working in garden

Fitness Classes are FREE and open to everyone! All classes are at the Ginger Lynn Welch Community Room. For more info contact Robin Callahan at 828-359-6785 or by email. October Fitness Schedule.

October 12 - November 16, 6:00 - 6:45 am. High intensity interval workouts that engage your max effort for short periods of time. At Cherokee Choices. To sign up contact Yolanda Saunooke at 356-6784 or yolasaun@nc-cherokee.com.

Diabetes Empowerment Education Program (DEEP). At Ginger Lynn Welch Complex. 6 week class to take charge of your diabetes. Must commit to at least 5 classes and sign up in advance. Learn more

16-week classes to provide support for making healthy lifestyle changes: nutrition, physical activity, goal setting and stress management. At Ginger Lynn Welch Complex and at Snowbird Rec Complex. Requirement: at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Call the main number for information on program schedules.

CTP is a diabetes prevention program for Eastern Band Cherokee Indian youth. The program is for children 7-12 years of age that are at a high risk for diabetes or are overweight. Call the main number for information on program schedules.


• Cherokee Central School System

• Cherokee Hospital

• Cherokee Diabetes Clinic

• Community Club Council

• Cherokee Human Resources

• Healthy Cherokee

• Cherokee Central School System Board

• United Methodist Church

• Latter Day Saints

• Cherokee Tribal Planning Office

• Multiple Cherokee work sites

To learn more about Cherokee Choices: A Diabetes Prevention Program for American Indians, click here for an in-depth article published in Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC).


Cherokee Choices building


Ginger Lynn Welch   Complex
810 Acquoni Road
PO Box 666
Cherokee, NC 28719

Sheena Kanott Lambert, MPH
Interim Manager

828-359-6782 (main)

Monday - Friday
7:45 am - 4:30 pm

Cherokee choices logo