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For Native America, the battle against obesity is life and death

For Native Americans the odds of facing obesity and its associated health problems at some time in life are 30 to 50 percent higher than for other Americans.

In a nation already affected by an alarming obesity rate for all people, this information’s effects can be devastating.

The promotion of healthy eating habits and lifestyles is the core mission for the Comanche Nation Diabetes Program. Its director Marilyn Figueroa said efforts to serve the over 17,000 member tribe takes form through education and inspiration to undertake physical activity to promote a healthy lifestyle and stave off the onset of Type II diabetes while helping those who suffer from Type I.

“We have a big incident of that (diabetes) with all Native American tribes,” Figueroa said. I think there’s more out there that haven’t been checked.”

Figueroa has first-hand experience with Type II diabetes. She understands the role diabetes can have in changing a life after being diagnosed in 2006. Her mom has it as well. She said it goes back to diet.

“At first, I was in shock. I felt kind of ashamed,” she said. “But it doesn’t happen overnight.”

Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is most commonly induced by an unhealthy diet rich in sugars and preservatives.

The Lawton Constitution

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