N.M. With little exercise and poor eating habits, American
Indian children are one of the groups most vulnerable to Type 2
Charlene Avery hopes that a mid-July push of Move It! kits will
prompt parents and educators of Native kids to be active against
the onset of the disease. Avery, an Indian physician in Albuquerque,
sees the numbers of Indian children who will likely develop it rising
maintains the tide does not have to take Indian youth down the same
path as their elders.
rates for diabetes are alarming. The rate for new cases nearly doubled
in the last 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. American Medical Journal researchers found that
of all Indian children with diabetes, some 86.2 percent have Type
2, compared to 59.7 percent among Asian and Pacific Islander children.
The numbers mean that breaking the cycle will come by weight loss
and increased physical activity for people at risk. One of the biggest
culprits for child Type 2 diabetes susceptibility is not found outside
the home, but inside, officials said.
and video games are luring Indian children to sit and remain inactive
rather than allowing their metabolism to work to its fullest. Avery
is dismayed, but determined.
effective strategies to achieve increased activity and decrease
the likelihood of obesity include removing televisions from bedrooms
and reducing the amount of time spent watching TV and playing video
the climate of visual overstimulation, proper nutrition and good
old-fashioned activity lends to an inactive generation that still
face all the social hurdles of being Native.
socioeconomic conditions in many areas of Indian country have given
rise to depression, poor education, high unemployment rates, domestic
violence, substance abuse, poor self-esteem," Avery said.
physician said additional factors of everyday life in Indian country
complicate the picture. These include lack of access to needed services
and a high suicide rate among Native youth adding to stress which
produces anxiety. The end result is hopelessness.
tribal leaders, students and tribal citizens must involve themselves
at all levels to reverse these conditions. Preservation of tribal
identity and cultural practices are likely the most significant
factors in the survival of tribal people as a whole."
said obese children may have Acanthosis nigricans and are especially
at risk. The darkening of skin behind the neck that sometimes extends
to the front can be a sign of insulin resistance, a cardinal feature
of Type 2 diabetes. The good news is that with exercise and weight
loss, it can be reversed.
and watching for this sign can also help motivate caregivers to
prod children to eat healthier and get more exercise, she said.
with the medical approach, communities can be vigilant. A mail-out
of Move It! kits to more than 1,200 partners of the National Diabetes
Education Program will begin July 15. The kits are directed to communities
or groups that deal primarily with Indian children, specifically
youth ages 12 and up.
Move It! kit destinations include: Davenport Public Schools in Oklahoma;
Hannahville Public Schools in Michigan and Pine Point in North Dakota,
said Noelle Kleszynski, diabetes program director at the Association
of American Indian Physicians.
said Move It! kits stress a community-based awareness campaign that
isn't too difficult, even for the smallest communities.
great thing about the kits is that they are designed to motivate
a community while keeping the focus on youth in Indian country."
diabetes prevention kits include fact sheets, a CD, pedometer order
forms and a how-to approach for their schools' administration to
promote diabetes awareness for Indian children.
the kits have culturally specific books on health and diabetes prevention
and posters that utilize Indian sensibilities regarding health and
who see potential for the Move It! prevention kits can find a template
included for writing press releases to announce local events.