Wednesday, September 10, 2014

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: The Navajo Nation, The Power to Heal Diabetes, and Growing Healthy Kids

"To provide diabetes prevention/intervention by promoting healthy lifestyle changes to reduce and prevent diabetes" 
       -- Mission Statement, Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project

Here are six questions to think about:

  1. Do you live in a food desert?  
  2. Do you eat differently (translate:  worse) than your grandparents?  
  3. Are you overweight?  
  4. Do you (or a family member) have type 2 diabetes?  
  5. Do you have limited access to fresh vegetables and fruits?  
  6. Are you concerned about a child or youth in your family who is at an unhealthy weight? 

Many of the kids and families I get the opportunity to work with answer “yes” to most or all of these questions.   Now, we have the chance to touch the lives - and health - of many more children. 

In recognition of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month this month, Growing Healthy Kids is honored to announce that we have been invited  to work with children and parents in the Navaho Nation.  Diabetes among Native American youth is an often-ignored epidemic of national significance, fueled by issues of limited access to healthy foods and increased access to foods high in sugar and processed foods.  

We know that diabetes can be controlled, reversed and prevented by embracing healthier ways of eating, most of which are defined by issues of access, and by being active.  However, if you live on a reservation where a food store selling fresh vegetables is a 200 mile drive, access to healthy foods is a barrier to improved glycemic control. 


We are so looking forward about being able to empower, inspire, and educate children and families and look forward to each project in this new partnership.  We will set benchmarks for how we will define success.  We will share our story and our journey with you and invite you to come along the journey with us. 

America’s children deserve access to healthy foods.  ALL of our children.  If they live in a food desert, we have to create "food heavens".  We can teach our children that the way our grandparents ate and lived did not lead to obesity and diabetes.  We can all learn the benefits of being at a healthy weight.  We can - and must - grow foods using new growing methods like hydoponic and aeroponic to give families access to fresh, nutrient dense foods, wherever they live.  Whether children live in Vero Beach, Florida, inner city Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or on the Navajo reservation in Tuba City, Arizona, ALL of America's children deserve access to healthy foods.  

Oops!  Never heard of Tuba City?   We will be there soon, as part of our work to improve the health - and lives - of America's children, one child at a time.  To learn more about the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project, click here.

One of my favorite parts of WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS is bringing you resources you can use – here is one we fell in love with while doing research for our new collaboration.  We know you will love it, too!  The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is working to eliminate diabetes among Native Americans where health has been lost because diet has changed. The PCRM has created a beautiful resource full of delicious recipes and tips.  If you would like a copy of The Power to Heal Diabetes: Power Plate Resources and Recipes, please click here.    

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc. 

PS -- If your kids are age 13 and younger, read about our 4th Annual Poster Contest in the September 3rd issue of WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS!  Deadline for having posters postmarked is October 16th!