December 08, 2011
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation celebrated the end of American Diabetes Month on Wednesday, Nov. 30 with a 30 minute walk at the tribe’s main complex in Tahlequah. More than 100 people walked to support diabetes prevention and for friends and family diagnosed with the dangerous disease.
According to statistics compiled by the American Diabetes Association more than 25 million Americans are living with Diabetes and 79 million more have been diagnosed as prediabetic. Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and loss of limbs. American Indians are twice as likely to become diabetic, but with simple lifestyle changes like exercising more, eating healthier foods and losing weight, many people can avoid the disease.
The Cherokee Nation Diabetes Prevention Program aims to prevent diabetes in tribal communities. The program helps citizens diagnosed with prediabetes, which means their blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to actually diagnose with diabetes. Participants are provided with a life coach who helps them reach their weight loss goal, tools and incentives to keep participants active and healthy, free check-ups and educational classes on healthy eating, weight loss and physical activity.
Since its inception in 2004, Cherokee Nation’s Diabetes Prevention Program has helped more than 227 participants prevent diabetes. The program regularly sponsors classes in Adair, Mayes, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Muskogee and Delaware counties for interested community members who have been diagnosed with prediabetes. Participants must also be a member of a federally recognized tribe and be 18 or older. For more information about Cherokee Nation’s Diabetes Prevention Program or to become a participant visit www.cherokee.org or contact Tonya Giger at 918-453-5776 or firstname.lastname@example.org.