BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WKBT) - While obesity continues to be a nationwide problem, the rates of obesity among the Native American population are alarmingly higher.
Native Americans are twice as likely to be obese than any other minority. And the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes among Native Americans in the United States is 13 percent.
But November 13th is NB3FIT Day, a national day of bringing awareness to Native youth health and fitness.
For the first time this year, Native American youth and adults in Black River Falls got the chance to take part in Sunday's activities.
"It's important to have a day like this because as we are very well aware throughout the Ho-Chunk Nation, that our Native youth, they're our futures and the most important thing that we can give them and provide for them is good health," said Sara Peterson, health coordinator for the Ho-Chunk Nation health department.
Which is why the Notah Begay Foundation is hosting NB3 Fit Day, with the goal of getting 10,000 thousand Native American Youth in the U.S. active for one hour, by mixing together culture and physical activity.
"There is a lot of songs just about every native indigenous culture that bring people together, bring communities together, so a lot of these are very interactive dances, they're round dances, there is gonna be snake dances and green corn dances and two steps so these are where people partner up and hopefully we get obstacles going and keep them moving," said Jon Greendeer, member of the Notah Begay Foundation.
Along with the cultural dances, the day consisted of getting active on the field with a game of Lacrosse.
"The whole entire purpose is to combat childhood diabetes and obesity," Peterson said.
Native American youth are nine times more likely to develop diabetes than any other race. And event coordinators say there are a few factors that may play a role in the alarming statistics.
"Culturally our bodies are not as able to process processed foods as well as a lot of sugars," Peterson said.
They say other reasons are certain historical events that took place.
"Although these nine year old kids that are out there weren't a part of boarding schools and removals, they carry that generational trauma," Greendeer said.
However he says he's hopeful they can combat obesity within their community.
"We don't have to go to a laboratory we don't need science we don't need anything, we already have the cure, we have every piece of the puzzle in front of us we just gotta put it together," he said.
This was the first year the event was hosted in the Midwest.
About 100 Native American youth attended.
Sunday's events in Black River Falls were also hosted by the Ho-Chunk Nation.
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