Diabetes is a common, chronic disease in tribal communities

Ideas for tribal members to increase physical activity to help manage diabetes effects.

Diabetes remains to be a chronic disease that continues to impact the overall health and wellbeing of tribal communities in Michigan. Recent studies demonstrate that American Indian/Alaskan Native’s (AI/NA) have the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the United States. According to Indian Health Services (IHS) data, approximately 16.1 percent of AI/NA adults (which is almost twice the rate of the total U.S. adult population - 8.3 percent) will develop diabetes.

To prevent and control the effect of diabetes, Michigan State University Extension reminds  that it is important to maintain a schedule of physical activity that fits your needs and lifestyle.

There are many activities that a person may do to increase their levels of physical activity. Those include:

  • Brisk walking 10 minutes, three times per day
  • Taking the stairs
  • Taking time to go pick berries
  • Parking farther away from the grocery store
  • Chair exercises
  • Standing while talking on the phone
  • Participate in a traditional gathering event
  • Pow-Wow dancing
  • Taking a walk or household chores during commercial breaks

In tribal communities it is important to talk with your health educator and your physician to determine what level of physical activity and tribal community events would be best for you.

Please contact Emily Proctor, tribal extension educator with questions or comments at proctor8@anr.msu.edu.

For more information on diabetes and the American Indian/ Native American population please review the follow sites:

Native American Programs - American Diabetes Association

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention (DDTP)

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