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Currently, the Community has the resources and power to implement the traditional lifestyle. Make March the month to take the steps to incorporate healthy portions of traditional foods using this list:

Bite into Food for Life in Indian Country

By Maggie Fisher, RDN,CDE

Health and Human Services

Did you know that March is the National Nutrition Month®? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) chose March as the month to campaign for healthy nutrition education and information. The purpose of the campaign is to promote the idea of “making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.”

To make it easy, AND also choose a Day in March to celebrate the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day to remind the Community of the of “awareness of registered dietitian nutritionists as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and recognizes RDNs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives.” As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator for the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community the chosen information for the month of March is current evidenced base information on how living a more traditional Native American lifestyle can increase one’s likelihood to prevent and reverse diabetes, but will definitely allow a diabetic to optimally manage their diabetes. Mr. Graham Greene, the Academy Award nominee of Dances with Wolves, and The Green Mile, states, “For thousands of years, diabetes was rare among our people.” Versus today, “1 in 5 Native American adults has diabetes and our teenagers are the fastest group of people to be diagnosed with diabetes” as a result to the change in food and activity choices. Greene continues, “Research has shown that the answer to diabetes prevention may lie in our age old food traditions, and we can put this knowledge into action for ourselves, children and generations to come.”

Neal Barnard the President of Physicians Committee explains that unfortunately the introduction of unhealthy food choices started in the 19th century when the “Americans diverted the water supply that the Pima Indians used to irrigate their crops and started a massive disruption in their ability to grow. Then in the 20th century, the US government starting supplying non-traditional foods including canned meats, cheese, milk, egg, meats, canned vegetables, fruit and dry cereal, a breakfast like eggs, bacon and sausage became common, hamburgers, pork chops, cheese to tribes and are now everyday foods. Since the changes in food choices and decreases activity as a result to inability to farm, the prevalence of diabetes has skyrocketed.

Currently, the Community has the resources and power to implement the traditional lifestyle. Make March the month to take the steps to incorporate healthy portions of traditional foods using this list:

If you would like for information on diabetes nutrition and prevention, contact Maggie Fisher, RDN, CDE at 362-6640. Currently, Health and Human services offers the following services:

  • Diabetes 101 classes that educates important diabetes related topics Thursday’s at 11:30 to 2 pm am in the Quail Room at Two Water’s building B
  • Youth Wellness Program that allows family’s to learn how to be healthy with fun activities and get the support from the group to make incorporate healthy day to day actions Thursday at 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Diabetes/Diabetes Prevention Nutrition service walk-in hours on Wednesday’s from 12 to 1:30 p.m.

Three support groups that assist you in achieving a healthy way of life

  1. Sio’omakam Himdag/Ayuu doy xostsh- Peoples Way of Life on Tuesday’s at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  2. Youth Wellness Support Group Meetings- Some Thursday’s at 5:30 to 7 p.m. (Please call to ask specific dates)
  3. Women’s Wellness Group- Wednesday’s 6 to 7 p.m. Please call (480) 362-5540 for more information.



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Bite into Food for Life in Indian Country