Type II Diabetes Case Study

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I was raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I grew up with an awareness that Native Americans, or “Indians,” were a minority in my home town of Rapid City, South Dakota. But in school, my only real contact with the Lakota was in basketball tournaments like the Lakota National Invitational. My parents took me to the largest Pow Wow in Western South Dakota every year where we watched the beautiful grand entry dancers and listened to the awe-inspiring drummers and Lakota singers performing traditional music. Toward the end of my middle school years, my mom, a family physician, started taking me to the Pine Ridge Reservation once a summer to drive around the town, eat at Subway, which is one of the only restaurants in the expansive reservation,…show more content…
But the Department of Health and Human Services for Minority Health reports a rate of Type II Diabetes among Native Americans to average around 16%- and this is an average of many tribes throughout the US. For example, in some tribes, like the Pima Indian tribe of Arizona, the rate of Type II Diabetes is 50%. In addition, there is a rising rate of obesity in the Native American population with approximately a 33% rate of obesity across all tribes in the US. (Food Safety News, March 5, 2012 and Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health Data 2002). Although many Native Americans lost access to their traditional nutrition when moved to Reservations, the significant change in the rate of obesity and diabetes did not seem to appear until after World War II. (Martha McCoy, "The rise of obesity and diabetes with the adoption of a western diet: a case study of Native American communities" (May 01,…show more content…
(McCoy) The traditional indigenous diet of the Lakota culture in South Dakota was primarily a hunter-gatherer diet. Foods like venison, bison, choke cherries, wild turnips and other root vegetables and corn used in grinding and creating flour were common foods. In addition to being high in protein, low in simple carbohydrates and low in sugar, saturated fat and salt, these foods required a great deal of energy to hunt, gather and prepare. The Atlantic Magazine featured Chef Sean Sherman, a native American chef who had been working in restaurants for much of his life when he realized the food of his tribe, the Oglala Sioux, was completely unrepresented in American Cuisine. He had grown up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, one of the largest and poorest reservations in the US, and his childhood diet consisted of processed, boxed and canned foods with government donated commodities. “I just had an epiphany,” he said, “I should be doing the food of my ancestry and my heritage.” He launched the “Sioux Chef” and “Tatanka Truck” in Minneapolis and is focusing his energy on re-creating the indigenous diet that kept

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