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Press Release

Release Date: January 15, 2019

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 14 percent of the adult population of Oklahoma has diabetes, with an additional 36 percent of the population in the prediabetes range. Rates are even higher in the Native American population.

While the disease has a long list of devastating side effects, lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 71 percent.

Classes teaching many of those proven lifestyle strategies are now available through the Chickasaw Nation in Ada, Ardmore, Tishomingo and Purcell.

“The classes are meant for people who have been diagnosed with prediabetes or who are at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes,” said Lea Caufield, program coordinator of the Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Prevention Program. “In a group setting, participants learn how to make healthier lifestyle choices that are proven to reduce the risk of them developing type 2 diabetes.”

Free and open to the public, classes are led by lifestyle coaches who provide tools and support to help participants improve eating habits, increase physical activity, develop healthy coping skills and practice strategies to manage stress and setbacks.

“Along with the coaches, peers help one another attain their goals,” Caufield said. “They share anecdotal experiences with what is working for them, and what isn’t. It helps participants feel connected and that others are listening.”

With long-term goals and sustainability in mind, classes take place over a one-year period. The 22-session program encourages adopting balanced nutrition and activity behaviors to help lose weight. The program will reduce the risk of developing diabetes for those already prediabetic or at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The one hour classes begin this month. A schedule of class dates will be provided at the first session. Initial meeting dates and times:

Jan. 22: Chickasaw Nation Community Center, Ardmore
10-11 a.m., 11 a.m.-noon or noon-1 p.m.

Jan. 23: Chickasaw Nation Community Center, Ada
9-10 a.m., 10-11 a.m. or 11 a.m.-noon

Jan. 24: Chickasaw Nation Community Center, Tishomingo
10-11 a.m. or 11 a.m.- noon

Jan. 29: Chickasaw Nation Purcell Health Clinic
Noon-1 p.m.

To enroll, contact Lauren Reich-Chapman or Lea Caufield at (580) 436-3980, or email or

For more information, visit

A Proven Track Record

For more than three years, the Chickasaw Nation’s Diabetes Prevention Program has offered group classes to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The program was developed from a research study funded by the National Institutes of Health and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 3,000 adults took part in the study from 27 locations across the United States.

The participants in the study all had signs of prediabetes. They were separated into three control groups of 1,000 each. One group focused on lifestyle changes alone, while the other two were given medication or received no treatment. The study found that those who focused on lifestyle changes cut their risk for type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, while those over 60 cut their risk by 71 percent. Those receiving medication alone cut their risk by 31 percent, and those who received no treatment had no change in their risk for type 2 diabetes.

The Chickasaw Nation Diabetes Prevention Program has experienced similar results. Those that have learned the nutritional skills, are active and have continued with the long-term support offered by the Chickasaw Nation have seen their overall health improve.