OTTAWA, Nov. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief
Katherine Whitecloud is wearing a pedometer today, in recognition of World
Diabetes Day as a gesture to promote exercise as a way of controlling
diabetes. She says she's pleased to see Health Canada is also taking positive
steps to better serve First Nations people with diabetes.
"The prevalence of diabetes among First Nations adults is four times as
great as the general Canadian population, meanwhile one in five First Nation
adults do not have access to a doctor or nurse in their community," said
regional Chief Katherine Whitecloud who holds the portfolio for Health and
Social Development, which also includes patient wait times. "My message today,
on World Diabetes Day, is that managing diabetes among First Nations citizens
must be a shared responsibility."
She says Health Canada has taken a step in the right direction by
selecting nine First Nations communities for pilot projects designed to test
Patient Wait Time Guarantees (PWTGs) for diabetes.
Regional Chief Katherine Whitecloud's use of a pedometer is a follow up
to an initiative at the Assembly of First Nations where employees participated
in a challenge to increase their physical activity. Over a three-week period
approximately 35 employees took 7,779,352 steps. Next year they will issue a
challenge to their peers in regional First Nations Organizations and Tribal
Councils to meet or beat their results.
The AFN Chief's Committee on Health has asked First Nations communities
to organize World Diabetes Day events in their communities to promote exercise
and a healthy diet. Suggestions included: Organizing a recipe swap, a feast,
or a baking contest featuring diabetes friendly foods; and organizing a walk,
jog or dance that encourages the community to exercise for thirty minutes.
According to the First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS):
- The prevalence of diabetes among First Nations adults is nearly four
times as great as the general Canadian population. The general
prevalence of diabetes in First Nation adults is 19.7%.
- One in three First Nations adults aged 50-59 years have diabetes
- First Nation females have a higher prevalence of diabetes compared to
First Nations males across all age categories.
- Diabetes is most prevalent among the senior First Nations females
- Treatments for diabetes used by First Nation adults include: pills
(68%), diet (65.5%), exercise (52.9%), insulin (16.7%), traditional
medicines (12.9%), and traditional healers/ceremonies (6.0%).
- Nearly nine out of ten First Nation adults report adverse consequences
related to their diabetes, including vision problems, problems with
legs and feet, kidney function and infection, and heart problems
- One in five First Nation adults do not have access to a doctor or nurse
in their community.
Katherine Whitecloud is the Regional Chief for Manitoba. She is Dakota
and member of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. Regional Chief Whitecloud chairs
the Chief's Committee on Health (CCOH) and has been an elected member of the
AFN Executive Council since January 26, 2006.
The Assembly of First Nations is the National Organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.
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