Native Village 
Youth and Education News

November, 2012

Native Cowboys Combat Diabetes: Indian National Finals Rodeo Plans Awareness  Events
Read more: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/
Condensed by Native Village

November is National Native American Heritage and American Diabetes month. American Indians and Alaska Natives:

Have the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the U.S.
Have a 220% higher diabetes rate than the general population.
In some Native communities, 50% of adults have diabetes,
Additionally, in some Native communities, 30% are pre-diabetic.

In 1997, Congress established a Special Diabetes Program for Indians. These programs offer treatment and prevention support based on proven practices.  One program is The Awakening the Spirit Program

Diet and exercise are two keys to preventing, reducing, or reversing type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association sponsors Step Out — Walk  to Stop Diabetes.  The National Basketball Association hosts a Dribble to Stop Diabetes campaign.

“As a professional basketball player, I know how important it is to take care of your health,” says Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls.  “Living a healthy lifestyle — including getting regular exercise — is important for those who have or who are at risk of developing what is called the silent killer.”

Native American rodeo cowboys sponsor awareness events during the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR).  Joe Beaver, Cherokee, is a Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer and holds 8 world titles. Last years he showed up to help raise funds for research. 

 

 “We can’t completely change the lifestyle of a 70-year-old who wears a 3XL shirt and eats French fries on a  regular basis," Joe said, "but we can focus on educating people about the disease, what causes it, and what steps can be taken to combat it.”

This year's INFR gathering takes place November 6-10 in Las Vegas. Diabetes events will be coordinated by arena physician Dr. Steve Williamson, Blackfeet. 

“The connection between Indian cowboys and diabetes is simple," he says.  "I don’t think there’s a Native American in the country not affected in some fashion, either directly or through a family member or friend,”

At every performance, the INFR booth will offer blood pressure and sugar testing and record-keeping protocol.  On November 9 -- Diabetes Awareness Day -- an hour-long walk will stress the importance of exercise and its role in fighting diabetes.

The Native American cowboys are also committing items to be auctioned off. Included are autographed tee-shirts bearing names like Derrick Begay, Navajo; Erich Rogers, Navajo; Dustin Bird, Blackfeet, and others.

“Our mission is to remind all Native Americans, whether or not they have diabetes or are undiagnosed, that INFR is supportive of all efforts helping Indians deal with the disease in their own personal lives,” says Dr.  Williamson.  “We want everyone to know that INFR is involved in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes as it affects Indian communities.”

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