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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


July 13, 2002 - Issue 65


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Poplar Girl Leads Fight to Prevent Diabetes

Poplar, MT - After losing two uncles to diabetes in the span of a year, 14-year-old Adriann Buckles decided to fight back against the disease, which also killed two of her great-grandparents.

More than 12 percent of the nation's Native Americans older than 19 have diabetes, twice the rate of the general population.

"There are many Native American people on my reservation with diabetes, especially school-age children," Adriann said.

Too often, the hot lunches they eat at school are high in carbohydrates and fat, she said. Even the fruit offerings are usually canned and high in sugar -- a diabetic's worst enemy.

In spring 2001, Adriann led a three-day hot lunch boycott at Poplar Middle School, which resulted in a salad bar for students. Poplar High School's new cook will attend a training session this summer through the state Office of Public Instruction's School Nutrition Program, also thanks to her efforts.

Last week, Adriann took her cause to Washington, D.C., where she called for healthier school lunches at the National Youth Summit, attended by numerous federal agencies.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture told her they'll try to bring a pilot program to the Fort Peck Reservation that would add fresh fruits and vegetables to school lunches."

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Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

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