Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community families gathered on March 23 for Family Wellness Night, a program for people to learn about health and wellness and take more steps on the road to becoming healthy.
SRPMIC Education Food Services started a wellness policy in 2006 after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated that school lunch programs in the United States must have wellness policies. The policy incorporated healthy eating at all the Community schools, which includes more fruits and vegetables and proper serving sizes.
“We have seen many changes in the way the children eat and have seen students take on much more athletic activity,” said Education Food Services Manager Terri McGehee about some of the positive changes that have come out of the wellness policy since it was put in place. “… The students are accepting more fruits, and that is what we’re pushing in our programs.”
Family Wellness Night began two years ago when Food Services felt that it was important to present the many facets of wellness. It was an opportunity to bring the Community together to share healthy lifestyle information that people may not be aware of. McGehee said that the event has been a success with both children and families.
The evening kicked off with two special guest speakers, SRPMIC President Diane Enos and Vice-President Martin Harvier.
Harvier emphasized how wellness played a big role in preparing the Salt River High School girls basketball team for their win in the state championship—practicing hard and being physically fit meant they were able to achieve success in that championship game.
Harvier then cited some statistics about our people facing diabetes. He explained that the average age for a man in our Community to get diabetes is 47-years-old, and for a woman it’s 49-years-old.
“Diabetes studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise can prevent diabetes,” said Harvier. “That is something we need to instill in our young ones that they need to do.”
Harvier also talked about how his wife, Toni Harvier, has been participating in the P.F. Chang’s Half-Marathon in the last three years. She started running to raise funds for the dialysis support group here in the Community.
“She wore the names of several individuals on dialysis on her shirt as she ran the race. She thought about the names on her back and the struggles that a lot of those people have to go through, and that is why she started exercising and taking care of herself,” explained Harvier.
The agenda for Family Wellness Night included a variety of breakout sessions that provided health information and examples of healthy eating habits and exercise activities that people could take back to their homes to begin their healthy lifestyle changes.
The informational workshops focused on pre-diabetes and lifestyle change, the WIC program, controlling blood pressure, healthy cooking and portion control. Exercise activities included basketball, golf, exercise basics and dancing, provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, the SRPMIC Recreation Department and the Fitness Center.