On the T.R.A.I.L. to diabetes prevention



by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On the evening of Thursday, April 14, Tulalip Boys & Girls Club held an open registration for its very own T.R.A.I.L. healthy choices program. Its mission? To teach children the necessary steps to prevent diabetes and pre-diabetes.

“We are super excited to offer the community a very special hands-on practical prevention program for the kids at the Boys & Girls Club,” stated Veronica “Roni” Leahy, Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention Program Coordinator. “This is the first time a large scale collaboration between health clinic staff and the Trails Program staff has occurred. Together, we are offering diabetes prevention education delivered in a cooking class format with nutrition education geared towards kids!”

From 1990 to 2009 the incidence of type 2 diabetes in Native American/Alaska Native youth increased by 110%, according to the Indian Health Service (IHS). Type 2 diabetes has been reported in Native American youth as young as four years of age, and IHS also reports that mortality rates for diabetes are 1.6 times higher for Native Americans compared to the U.S. general population.*




In 2003, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), IHS, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), and Nike, Inc., initiated a prevention program aimed at reducing the onset of type 2 diabetes among Native youth. The program – On the T.R.A.I.L. (Together Raising Awareness for Indian Life) to Diabetes Prevention – is an innovative combination of physical, educational, and nutritional activities.

T.R.A.I.L. is a 12 chapter program that provides youth with a comprehensive understanding of healthy lifestyles in order to prevent type 2 diabetes. The program is presented with four themes: About Me, My Health, & Being Part of a Team; Healthy Eating; Making Smart Food Choices and My Healthy Community.

Woven throughout the program are self-esteem and prevention activities utilized by BGCA, including contributions from national evidence-based programs such as SMART Moves. Club members draw from Native traditions and history to learn about nutrition, food choices, media influences and the impact of type 2 diabetes.




The program also emphasizes the importance of teamwork and community service. Participants apply decision-making and goal setting skills in the physical activity challenges, and engage in service projects to improve healthy lifestyles in their communities. Community and family members participate in activities with the elementary-aged club members. These motivate members to achieve their goals and promote physical activity. The club sites are implementing the SPARK Physical Education and Nike Let Me Play programs to foster club-wide participation in fun physical activities and games for 60 minutes every day.

T.R.A.I.L. is currently funded at 55 participating club sites located in 18 states. Each of the Native Boys & Girls Club sites received the following to implement the T.R.A.I.L. program:

  • A grant to fund program operations, including a part-time staff person and program training for one year.
  • Evaluated program curriculum, training, and on-going technical assistance.
  •  Access to the SPARK Afterschool Physical Activity Program.

Each club member who registered to participate in the T.R.A.I.L. program received a box of fresh food from Klesick Farms and Haggen Grocery store, and their choice of an apple tree or blueberry bush. These boxes were valued at approximately $50.00 per box.

“The kids will learn how to grow, harvest and preserve fruit, berries & vegetables and we will use them in the meals we prepare together. Plus, they will personalize and develop their own cookbooks with the recipes,” added Roni. “Our collaborative prevention team looks forward to working with your kids and sharing our knowledge and skills with them.”

The T.R.A.I.L. program will hold sessions Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Fridays from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in the Boys & Girls Club community room.





*source: https://www.naclubs.org


Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov