May 25, 2011

"Let's Move! In Indian Country"

First lady focuses obesity initiative on Indian Country

By Karen HerzogFirst lady Michelle Obama sent top federal officials to the Menominee Indian reservation in Keshena on Wednesday to launch a specially targeted “Let’s Move! in Indian Country” initiative to help a group of children who statistically are twice as likely to be overweight as the general population.

The first lady’s broader “Let’s Move!” initiative, launched last year, aims to eliminate the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. Over the past three decades, rates of childhood obesity in the U.S. have tripled. Nearly one in three children is now considered overweight or obese. An equal portion—one in three children born after 2000—will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives, an all-time high, according to projections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The problem is more acute among American Indians.

The Indian Country initiative aims to bring together federal agencies, communities, nonprofits, corporate partners and tribes across the country to improve access to healthy food and prenatal services, implement nutrition and physical education programs, and engage Indian youth, parents and communities in active, healthy lifestyle choices.

The Menominee tribe was chosen to host the initiative’s launch because 99% of its schoolchildren recently chose to participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge, which involved exercising five days a week for one hour a day over a six-week period, said Nedra Darling, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Menominee Tribe of Indians debuts Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move! In Indian Country' campaign

By Alex MorrellThe Menominee Tribe of Indians today will debut first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move! in Indian Country" campaign at the Woodland Bowl amphitheater in Keshena.

The program, which aims at ending childhood obesity, runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will include information booths and 19 activity stations for families and children of all ages, such as traditional lacrosse, a relay, indigenous tag and capture game, and an obstacle course.

Tribal Chairman Randal Chevalier said the tribe was selected to launch the initiative in part because Menominee County, which largely shares common boundaries with the Menominee Reservation, ranked last out of 72 Wisconsin counties in overall health factors and outcomes.

"I can attest that there is no better place for this initiative," Chevalier said. "Becoming a healthier community starts with our children, so I am delighted that we can address these issues in such a big way."

The tribe struggles with high rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, smoking and abuse of drugs and alcohol, Chevalier said, but the tribe has also taken initiative to develop programs to encourage healthy living, including a diabetes prevention program.
Comment:  For more on Michelle Obama and Indians, see Michelle Obama's Mentors Include Erdrich and Blackfeet Ornaments at White House.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like it. Most of these plans have insisted on their own dietary kinks. (How many diet plans insist you eat MORE carbohydrate? INCLUDING the USDA's.) Obama's avoids that.