Story last updated at 11/7/2012 - 1:11 pm
Native Americans from Washington, California and Ketchikan, participated in the 10th annual PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week held each year in San Francisco and Bay area locales. This year, local resident and KIC member, CJ Seludo took part in this event which focuses on healthy nutrition and physical fitness.
This year's event took on added significance as efforts nationwide to fight obesity, including efforts to tax sugary drinks, have increased attention on the importance of a healthy lifestyle. A leading risk factor of diabetes, obesity is affecting American Indian/Alaska Natives, especially youth, at an alarming rate. According to the National Indian Health Board, 1 in 3 Native children are overweight or obese before their 5th birthday.
Those participating in the PATHSTAR experience make a yearlong commitment as ambassadors for healthy change, sharing their swim week experience with family and community. Swim week participants have developed community and school gardens, coached high school and community sports, worked on anti-obesity initiatives and fitness and diabetes prevention programs as well as providing leadership and a living example of the benefits of healthy lifestyle changes.
Seludo has two girls and a boy, aged 8, 7 and 3.
"The swim week was a good motivation for me to get myself into healthier eating and exercising more to be healthier for my kids. I want to exercise every day," she said.
Native PATHSTAR participants return to their communities with the knowledge and confidence they can delay the negative effects of diabetes after diagnosis or even prevent its onset all together if they are pre-diabetic if they adopt a healthy lifestyle. A simple blood test determines if someone is pre-diabetic.