More Than Frybread: The Road to Healthy Eating and Physical Fitness

byIrene Jones

More Than Frybread is about how to use Design Thinking processes to solve the health problems faced by American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN).  AI/AN have a high prevalence of chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.1 In addition, lifestyle choices for instance poor nutrition, tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and alcohol use increases the risks for chronic diseases.2

Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity contribute to a high prevalence for overweight and obesity among NI/AN children.  Lack of education, and socio-economic status, along with the existence food desert contributes to poor nutrition.  Navajo Food Pyramid and traditional foods can be used as a catalyst to improve the diets of the students. The students will use the Navajo Food Pyramid to evaluate the food they eat at home.  Also, the pyramid will help them determine, which foods are considered nutritious and which foods they should be eating more. What's more, the use of Design Thinking Process can challenge students to increase physical activity and increase access to nutritious food at home and at school. This unit is designed to target 4th grade to increase the knowledge of students by identifying and analyzing the relationship between healthy behaviors and long-term personal health.


  1. CDC. “Poor Nutrition.”
  2. “Healthy Gardens/Healthy Lives: Navajo Perceptions of…”

(Developed for Science and Health, grade 4; recommended for Science, grades 3 and 5, and Health and P.E., grades 3-5)

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