ADA — It is no secret that type 2 diabetes has affected the American Indian community on drastic levels. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 7 percent of the American population has the disease. The same studies show that 12.8 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives have been diagnosed. The Chickasaw Nation Health System states that 17 percent of its patients are diabetic.

Those are drastic numbers, but there is hope. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

Through funding provided by Congress and studies conducted by the Indian Health Service (IHS), facts show that individuals who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes with simple lifestyle changes.

This is valuable information considering the ADA shows that 41 million Americans have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. That’s more than twice as many (20.8 million) than those that have diabetes.

With the publication of the IHS findings, the Chickasaw Nation Health System decided to become proactive in helping its citizens prevent the disease. Through a grant provided by Special Diabetes Programs for Indians, the Special Diabetes Prevention Program was developed.

American Indians over the age of 18 who have been diagnosed or believe they may have pre-diabetes can volunteer for the prevention program. It includes classes on healthier eating and physical activity, health monitoring and is intended to educate and motivate participants.

The program is based on nutrition and exercise since the research shows that, by just exercising 150 minutes per week and losing approximately 7 percent of body weight, diabetes can be prevented.

Those who are interested in reducing their risk for developing diabetes and would like to participate in the prevention program can contact the Physical Activity Lifestyle Specialist (P.A.L.S.) in their community. Call 1-800-851-9136 and the extension below to schedule a meeting and glucose test to confirm eligibility.

Ada Area – Martha Eck at the Diabetes Care Center, ext. 82266

Ardmore Area – Nola Runyan at the Ardmore Wellness Center, ext. 82262

Purcell Area – Wade Boyles at the Purcell Health Clinic, ext. 82271

Sulphur/Tish Area – Teeoti Littlefield at the Sulphur Area Office, (580) 622-2888 ext. 20.

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