Native Americans Offer Success Stories for Healthy Aging

Native Americans Offer Success Stories for Healthy Aging

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Cecilia Cook, 81, is pictured doing squats at the St. Regis Mohawk Services clinic. Photo: David Staddon/USA Today © 2011

AKWESASNE, N.Y. — Cecilia Cook walks through the door at the St. Regis Mohawk Health Services clinic and slips into her zone. She diligently comes twice a week. She gets her blood pressure checked, rides the stationary bike and does leg squats followed by other resistance exercises. She is fighting off a disease that has claimed the lives of loved ones and thousands of other Native Americans: type 2 diabetes.

Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes. Of the 3.3 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives in the USA, about 16% have diabetes, most of them type 2, according to Indian Health Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

USA Today’s Janice Lloyd wrote this article as part of the MetLife Foundation Journalists in Aging Fellowship in conjunction with New America Media and the Gerontological Society of America.

To read the full article, click here. Two other articles in Lloyd’s story package on the growing importance of exercise among elders include: “Seniors Exercise Right to a Better, More Youthful Life” and “Exercise Has the Colonel's Attention."

For further reading from New America Media on preventing diabetes among Native Americans, read Karen Hollish’s three-part series beginning with “Slow Death at Bad River: Diabetes in Indian Country.”