by Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Health. Discussion »
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - Notah Begay III is in Albuquerque, his hometown, to talk to Native youth about the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in Indian Country.
“This is the first generation of Native American youth that may not outlive their parents due to childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes,”
Notah Begay - Navajo/Pueblo
said Begay, who created the NB3 Foundation to help fight childhood obesity and diabetes. “The epidemic of type 2 diabetes among our people is relative to the devastation that HIV/AIDS has caused in Africa. As Native peoples, we can’t afford to risk our future. We have to invest in the health, well-being and leadership development of our Native youth.”
Begay was on Native America Calling on Friday, April 29, to speak to Native youth across the United States, who tuned in through their classrooms to listen to him. He challenged Native youth to eat healthy and to exercise. Begay was joined in the studio with several students from the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, based in California.
Sports - Health - Leadership
A recent study of 11,000 children on 12 Indian reservations found that among five-year olds, 47 percent of boys and 41 percent of girls were overweight, and 24 percent of children surveyed were obese, twice the national average. In New Mexico, 61 percent of Native American children between ages of 2-19 years are overweight. Obesity is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes.
“We’re engaged in a multi-prong effort through sports, health and leadership programs for Native youth to help to start turning the tide against this epidemic,” said Begay.
“I’ve dedicated my life to this, and I hope more and more people will join NB3 in this fight. It’s a universal health issue that affects all people in this country.”
Begay’s foundation, NB3 has been active in the creation of youth sports and wellness programs to fight and reduce childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.
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