The Matawa Health Co-op, in collaboration with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, hosted a second World Diabetes Day awareness walk in Thunder Bay on Tuesday.
The two organizations used the opportunity to reiterate the need to prevent and control diabetes, which is increasing among young indigenous people in the northwest of the province.
During this event, trained nurses and certified diabetes educators from these organizations working for the health of First Nations people provided information about the disease.
This was highlighted by Matawa First Nations President and CEO David Paul Achneepineskum in his speech to mark the occasion
Our people continue to experience exponential rates of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes as a result of intergenerational trauma.
This further leads to physiological adaptations that increase the propensity for obesity, decrease insulin levels, and lower basal metabolic rate.he explained in a press release.
Young people in danger
Janet Gordon, director of health for the Sioux Lookout First Nations, says the situation is concerning, especially as young people are increasingly plagued by diabetes.
The difference in youth diagnosis rates between First Nations in the Sioux Lookout region and the Ontario average is staggering.
Ms. Gordon noted that the most recent report on the situation of diabetes has not yet been released, but in 2019, 18% of people aged 20 to 39 among First Nations people in the Sioux Lookout region were diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 5% of Ontario residents in this age group overall.
She pointed out that this situation is due to difficult access to medical care, as many communities are isolated and remote.
Ms Gordon added that food security was certainly another major issue, leading to some people consuming foods of lower nutritional quality.
Prices are very high because food has to be flown to certain communitiesshe said.
The Matawa Health Cooperative and the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority are calling on governments to invest more resources in caring for diabetics in these First Nations.
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