Published on May 25, 2011
Initiative will “Energize a Generation” of Native young people to healthier ways of life
WASHINGTON, D.C. – First Lady Michelle Obama’s office launched today the American Indian and Alaska Native initiative of the First Lady’s prominent Let’s Move Initiative; Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC). Representatives of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) attended the launch event on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin and released a statement applauding the focus of Let’s Move! in Indian Country on the health and well being of tribal young people.
“We commend the First Lady for being a positive influence in the life of Native young people. Let’s Move! in Indian Country will energize a generation of tribal youth to connect to their traditional ways of healthy living,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI. “When it comes to staying healthy, Native youth face more challenges and obstacles than most. Let’s Move is an important effort in reaching out to provide solutions for our young people.”
The health profile of Native youth underscores the importance of this initiative. According to the Indian Health Service the obesity rate among American Indian and Alaska Native youth is approaching 50%, twice as high as their white counterparts; and 20% of American Indians ages 15 years or older had pre-diabetes in 2001–2004. American Indian/Alaska Native adults are nearly two times as likely to be obese as their white counterparts. American Indian/Alaska Native adults are more than twice likely as white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Matthew Wesaw, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan and NCAI’s Recording Secretary, joined Assistant Secretary of the Interior– Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk and Office of the First Lady, Executive Director of Let’s Move! Initiative Robin Schepper, USDA Deputy Administrator for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Lisa Pino, IHS Director for Improving Patient Care Program Lyle A. Ignace, M.D., M.P.H., and Menominee Tribal Chairman Randal Chevalier to launch Let’s Move! in Indian Country.
The launch of the Let’s Move! in Indian Country is an effort of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Office, the White House Domestic Policy Council, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Education, and the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin.
According to First Lady’s Let’s Move Office, the agencies, tribes, urban Indian centers, community organizations, and other stakeholders have set four main goals for LMIC: (1) create a healthy start on life for children; (2) create healthier learning communities; (3) ensure families access to healthy, affordable, traditional food; (4) and, increase opportunities for physical activity. In addition to being a federal interagency initiative, LMIC outlines ways for tribal governments, schools, the private sector, and non-profits to engage in this effort. LMIC sets the framework for each of these sectors to come together and contribute to the common goal of ending obesity within a generation. More information can be found at:http://www.doi.gov/letsmove/indiancountry/index.cfm.