Assembly of First Nations Urges Support for Prevention and Healthy Living on National Aboriginal Diabetes Awareness Day

OTTAWA, May 6 /CNW/ - Marking National Aboriginal Diabetes Awareness Day, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated First Nations will continue to urge governments and all Canadians to work together with First Nations to support diabetes prevention and healthy living for First Nation citizens and First Nation communities.

"One in five First Nation citizens is diabetic, a statistic well above the national average," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  "National Aboriginal Diabetes Awareness Day is one of many opportunities to raise awareness of the health gap between First Nations and other Canadians.  The health and safety of our people is an urgent priority as we advance our plans to work with the newly formed federal government to address, and close this gap. Diabetes prevention and care, food security and consistent and adequate access to healthy foods are just some of the key factors in these efforts."

The AFN works to ensure healthy living and appropriate investments in diabetes prevention through a number of initiatives and partnerships and advocacy efforts.

Health Canada's Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative has allowed for the implementation of several First Nation-driven projects, including training of Community Diabetes Workers, supports for nutrition, screening and physical activity programs. The recently renewed initiative provides important initiatives for children, youth, parents and families; food security plans; diabetes in pre-pregnancy and pregnancy; and training for home and community care nurses.

In a broad effort to provide better supports for athletes and healthy living in First Nation communities, AFN launched an initiative called IndigenACTION last July.  This youth-led initiative brings together Indigenous athletes and the public and private sectors to support healthy living, recreation and sport in Indigenous communities.   AFN is also in discussions with American Indian Tribes on an online community-based initiative called Just-Move-It.

The AFN is continuing to identify opportunities and make recommendations for improved and equitable health care and health services for First Nations, particularly now that the renewal discussions for the 2004 Health Accord have begun.  The current joint Health Accord is set to 2014.

National Aboriginal Diabetes Awareness Day is recognized annually on the first Friday in May.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Contact information:

Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations A/Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 334 or cell: 613-292-2787 or email dkelly@afn.ca

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or email jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-2920857 or email agaron@afn.ca

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