Curriculum Aims to Educate Native Americans About Diabetes

By Mary Ann Zehr — July 28, 2009 1 min read
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A curriculum has been created that has a goal of helping Native Americans prevent diabetes in their communities, according to an article published this month by the Associated Press. It was developed through a collaboration of government agencies and tribal colleges and is intended for children in grades K-12 in tribal schools or schools with a high number of Native American students. For grades 5-8, for instance, the curriculum provides direction for teachers to teach students through a social studies lesson about dietary practices, physical activity levels, and choices that make up a healthy lifestyle. Through a science lesson, teachers may help students to understand that the disease develops slowly over time and that it’s a disease in which a person’s body can’t use glucose properly.

The curriculum, called Health Is Life in Balance, is free and available through the Diabetes Education in Tribal Schools project. Find an overview here.

Diabetes is three times more common among American Indian and Alaska Native people than in the general population, according to FAQs at the Web site of the Diabetes Education in Tribal Schools project. Once thought to occur only in adults, type 2 diabetes is increasingly diagnosed in children, including many Native American children, the Web site says.

Information from the American Society on Aging says that “medical and lifestyle factors”, such as a tendency toward obesity, are thought to contribute to the prevalence of diabetes among Native Americans.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.