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Diabetes prevention imperative for Native Americans

According to the American Diabetes Association, American Indians are at a 2.2 times higher risk of developing diabetes than other races. ADA also says that an estimated 30 percent of American Indians have pre-diabetes, while 95 percent of American Indians have type 2 diabetes as opposed to type 1 diabetes. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 develops over time through an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. With these statistics rising over the past few years, this is disease is something that all Native Americans should be aware of.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation and FireLake Wellness Center offers help and information to help Tribal members and employees prevent diabetes.

“CPN uses both the Beginning Education about Diabetes program and the Healthy Heart program to raise awareness and help prevent complications with diabetes,” said Torie Fuller, CPN Dietitian MS RD/LD. “Diabetes is one of the most prominent diseases in Oklahoma. We can help prevent it through lifestyle changes by teaching people how to eat right and showing them how to exercise.”

Fuller encourages those with diabetes to do their research and find out what they can do to a live a healthier lifestyle. Individuals can take several steps to lead healthier lifestyles, including going to the doctor for regular checkups and eating a more balanced diet.

www.Choosemyplate.org, a website run by the USDA, is another resource providing information on healthy eating. Increasing vegetable intake and eating less meat and grains are just some of the many elements Choose My Plate encourages for in order to help prevent diabetes.

A mere 30 minutes of daily exercise is the bare minimum needed to help prevent and manage diabetes. In order to lose weight, a minimum of 90 minutes of exercise will improve a person’s ability to prevent diabetes and have an overall higher quality of life.

Family history, being over-weight, inactivity and old age can put anyone at risk of developing diabetes. Statistics show that Native Americans are automatically at risk and CPN has the information and encouragement to help.

“We see a wide variety of patients from dietetics, to healthy heart, and diabetes patients. Our goal is to find out what patients want to fulfill in their life through bettering their health,” said Fuller. “We don’t want a patient to go on a diabetic diet for a short time; we want patients to make lifestyle changes for the rest of their lives.”

For more information on diabetes prevention, visit the American Diabetes Association website at www.diabetes.org or contact Torie Fuller at the FireLake Wellness Center at 405-395-9304 to see if you qualify for CPN diabetes prevention services.