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Tribal Govts. Get CDC Money To Cut Chronic Disease


The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center in Lac du Flambeau has announced a multi-tribal, multi-state effort to combat chronic disease and health disparities in American Indian communities.

Epidemiologist Isaiah Brokenleg says four Indian communities in Michigan got funded, including the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. The effort began out of Minnesota and also affects Wisconsin tribes. The grant to fund the program comes from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

Brokenleg says the CDC is looking at how policies, systems and environmental change can attack chronic disease, citing examples...

"....lets make certain things non-smoking, or lets make sure that fifty percent of the food we provide to our communities are fresh fruits and vegetables. Those are policies..."

Brokenleg says changing systems might include following up more intensively when a person has been diagnosed as being obese, and changing environmental factors, such as providing more recreation, including more  sidewalks to encourage walking.

Brokenleg says policies have to be adapted to a rural environment. Farmer's Markets in an urban area might be very different than a rural area. He says in this area, looking at how communities get fresh fish or wild rice are an example. American Indians suffer from higher rates of cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes and heart disease than across the general population.

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