Swimming helps reduce diabetes among youth from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is meeting next week to focus on diabetes and Native youth.

Diabetes rates among American Indians and Alaska Natives are among the highest in the nation. But tribes, urban Indian organizations and other groups have been making progress in stopping the spread of the disease, which is entirely preventable, among youth.

According to the Indian Health Service, the Special Diabetes Program for Indians has played a major role in securing that progress. The program provides $150 million a year in grants for diabetes treatment and prevention.

"Another positive trend is that obesity rates in AI/AN children and youth aged 2-19 years remained nearly constant from 2006 through 2012," the IHS wrote in its most recent diabetes report to Congress. "Obesity in youth is an indicator of future risk for developing diabetes."

Despite the gains, Congress has been reluctant to renew the program. The money runs out this September and organizations like the National Indian Health Board are working hard to keep the grants going.

The hearing takes place March 29 in Room 628 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building. A witness list hasn't been posted online.

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Notice:
Oversight Hearing on “Native Youth: Promoting Diabetes Prevention Through Healthy Living.” (March 29, 2017)

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