By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The CDC released a report on diabetes on Tuesday, June 10 that states that a total of 29 million Americans now have the disease. Even more startling is the revelation that 25 percent of those with the disease don’t even know they have it.
Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, stated, “These new numbers are alarming and underscore the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in our country. Diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms. It’s urgent that we take swift action to effectively treat and prevent this serious disease.”
The report also states that a total of 1.7 million adults (20 and older) were diagnosed in 2012. Also alarming is the revelation in the report that American Indian adults are twice as likely to be diagnosed as diabetic than their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
When asked about the rate of diabetes among EBCI tribal members, Sheena Kanott, Cherokee Choices program manager, said, “Nationally, the rate of diabetes has increased. To my knowledge, the EBCI tribal members rates of diabetes has increased slightly but at less of an increase than the national average.”
The CDC states that 86 million U.S. adults have pre-diabetes. “Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels,” states CDC information. “Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use.”
Kanott agrees and advises, “Stay active by increasing your physical activity and by eating a healthy diet with foods high in nutrients and minerals.”
She said Cherokee Choices provides various classes and programs to help keep youth and adults diabetes-free including:
- Adult or Family Cherokee Lifestyle Balance Classes; Info: Robin Callahan 554-6785 or Rose James 554-6787
- Yoga (during lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays); Info: Robin Callahan or Rose James
- Running Brave and Jus Boyz Running Club for 3rd – 5th grade boys and girls; Info: Tara McCoy 554-6783 or Catcuce Tiger 554-6784
- Class Mentoring Program for 4th and 5th grade students; Info: Tara McCoy or Catcuce Tiger
- Afterschool Program for 4th and 5th grade students; Info: Tara McCoy or Catcuce Tiger
- Walk-N-Talk for 6th – 8th grade students; Info: Tara McCoy or Catcuce Tiger
- Cherokee Youth Garden Program; Info: Karrie Joseph 554-6786 or Joey Owle 554-6788
- Trail Advocacy program; Info: Joey Owle
- Remember the Removal Bicycle Ride; Info: Sheena Kanott 554-6782 or Tara McCoy
“The Cherokee Lifestyle Balance Program is based on the National Diabetes Prevention Program, proven to decrease the risk of type II diabetes by 58 percent,” said Kanott. “The program was modified with emphasis on Cherokee culture and fun, interactive learning.”
She added, “The Running Brave (girls only) and Jus Boyz (boys only) running program is a transformational, physical-activity-based, positive youth development program for girls and boys in 3rd – 5th grade. We teach life skills through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games. The program culminates with the girls and boys being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K running event.”
Some of the programs, such as the Walk-N-Talk, provide youth with a positive outlet as well as exercise. “This after-school club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays and gives students the opportunity to get in some exercise, walking or running, and build relationships with staff members and peers that allow students a safe place to express their concerns of home or school issues,” said Kanott.