Local Impact - Connecticut

Chief Lynn Malerba
Mohegan Tribe
Uncasville, CT

The Mohegan community has a large population with Type II Diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease which are co-morbid illnesses. Our goal is to reduce the need for medication and to reduce the negative effects of these illnesses. A second goal is to provide good role models for our youth by showing them that exercise is a life-long activity. This program allows our Tribal members and families to reach fitness and activity goals of 150 minutes of activity per week. 2015 marked the fifth year of our fitness walking class, which meets three times per week. Several members, from elders to new parents, have participated for many years. Mohegan Chief, Lynn Malerba, and her husband have outstanding attendance which inspires others.

“What is terrific about this program is that everyone who participates really does form a bond and encourages each other to get to the next level. It is so fun to see people of different ages and fitness levels to be able to work out in an individualized fashion, but yet do so in a group. Our group continues to grow and I encourage as many people as possible to join in and not feel intimidated. I love being able to work out with my husband and he attends even when I am unable to. Personally, I have lost weight, gotten stronger and my cardio-endurance has improved to the point of being able to jog, something I did not think was possible. This program is so much more fun than just mindlessly walking on a treadmill. Our fitness coach mixes it up and works out different muscle groups each time we meet. I never thought I would say that I love working out but this program has really made a difference. The people who have begun this program have kept with it which is a true testament to its success.”

- Chief Lynn Malerba

The United South & Eastern Tribes (USET) SDPI grant support helped to start this as a pilot program in 2010. This allowed us to enlist a fitness trainer who provided motivation, accountability, support, and instruction. Participants are able to progress at their own pace and customize their own flexibility and strength exercises. Providing this program year-round helps to support long-term lifestyle changes, while having several class options to choose from has improved participation.

Participants have emphasized that this program has helped them to control their stress, lose/manage weight, and to establish a regular exercise routine. Some have gone on to sign up for other classes including diet management classes. They especially appreciate the professional trainer who brings great enthusiasm while she challenges each person to push themselves beyond what they think is possible. The trainer is supportive and enables each person to modify each exercise to fit their capabilities.

Stories & Progams

Diabetes Program Participants
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Diabetes Care Providers
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