The ANA Messenger: Social Development Edition
Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma
Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma’s (ESTO) project focuses on diabetes prevention and education services. The program currently has four areas of participation. The specific purpose of the Eastern Shawnee Diabetes Program is to address the high rate of diabetes among the Eastern Shawnee that will serve the elders and other community members. One of the main goals is to prevent the onset of diabetes in the Tribe and community, identify diabetes early in the disease process, and alleviate complications in the lives of those who have diabetes by promoting a healthy lifestyle.
To help combat this epidemic, the Eastern Shawnee Diabetes Program has established successful walking and machine-assisted programs. There are currently a total of 56 individuals enrolled in these programs. Forty-two of the individuals who participate in the programs have been successful in achieving weight loss and meeting their personal goals.
In an effort to keep physical activity fun and exciting, ESTO sponsored a variety of activities. One event, the “Elder Olympics,” consisted of ladder ball, basketball shoot, ring toss and Wii Bowling, to name a few. Having these periodic activities in place of their normal workout helps to keep their interest. Another event everyone enjoys is the elder dances; a monthly dance hosted for those who participate in the exercise programs. ESTO staff tries to teach a different dance each time, such as, the waltz, the stroll, and various line dances.
ESTO has garden beds and some individuals involved in the program have a raised garden bed at their home. The Eastern Shawnee Diabetes Program provides a way for the production of healthy fruits and vegetables that many tribal members find too costly to purchase. By providing raised-bed garden plots, participants can grow fruits and vegetables, contributing to lifestyle changes that may prevent or alleviate diabetes problems. Currently ESTO has a total of 50 participants partaking in the raised garden beds.
The fourth activity ESTO hosts is a monthly meal prepared by a registered dietitian and served to the participants in the tribal nutrition center. An average of 60 individuals attend the dinners and hear the dietitian’s health tips and advice. The dinners are provided to help demonstrate proper food portions and to help educate in choosing proper foods to prevent and control diabetes.ESTO feels very fortunate that ANA provides funding to help combat the growing diabetes epidemic. The Tribe feels successful in their efforts in these programs.