Access to healthy food and education helps reduce obesity for Native Americans
NATIVE HEALTH primarily serves Native Americans — a population almost three times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic white adults. Healthy eating can make a big difference in managing diabetes. Yet, because nearly 35% of Native Americans in Arizona live below the poverty level, access to affordable, nutritious food can be challenging.
With grant funding from Mobilize AZ, NATIVE HEALTH launched the Food for Thought program to address these challenges. Through a diabetic food pantry and a Food Services Coordinator, patients living with diabetes received weekly healthy food deliveries, food preparation demonstrations, and diabetes management education.
5% reduction in obesity
Alc blood sugar levels significantly reduced
7,000 free meals delivered each month during the pandemic
When COVID-19 prevented in-person learning, NATIVE HEALTH shared its weekly cooking demos on YouTube so patients could continue to benefit from healthy meal ideas. As the pandemic amplified food insecurity, Mobilize AZ funding for the Food Services Coordinator’s time went to sourcing and distributing approximately 7,000 free meals each month.
With continued access to quality food and education complementing medical care Food for Thought participants collectively reduced their A1c blood sugar levels, and obesity went down five percent. Today, NATIVE HEALTH continues to advocate for nutrition’s essential role in helping Native American patients with diabetes stay well and resilient.