To raise awareness of the diabetes risk among native youth as well as to educate individuals, families and community members regarding the immediate actions they can take to prevent the onset of the disease, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, has launched a large-scale campaign dedicated to youth diabetes prevention. The campaign also provides valuable information and tools for other native communities around the country as they face a similar battle.
The numbers are frightening. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service, American Indians and Alaska Natives are 2.2 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Thirty percent of the indigenous population in this country has pre-diabetes, and of those who already have it, 95 percent have type 2 diabetes.
What’s even more frightening: There was a 68 percent increase in diabetes from 1994 to 2004 among native youth ages 15 to 19.