Our Aim: to use exercise to empower communities to live healthier and happier lives
Since 2012 we have been working with the Native American community and helping them on their journey to better health. This community sees a high incidence of diabetes and obesity and we empower native people to take exercise and serve as role models for each other. Our programs work in resource poor communities by removing the barriers between people and the healthier, happier versions of themselves that they want to be.
The project began when I (James Stout, the NEEP Executive Director) was training in Tucson Arizona. At the time, I was making my living as a cyclist. Having spent time riding through the reservation and working with nonprofit outside of the US, I noticed the high rate of diabetes among Native American people and wondered if there was anything I could do to help. As someone who lives with diabetes, I was motivated to share the joy, and health, I find in riding my bike. Equipped with a clapped out station wagon and as many old bikes and helmets as it could fit, and time I should have spent finishing my Phd I began to work on the reservation in order to better understand the barriers between Native people and better diabetes management.
Although access to medication is an issue in many Native American communities, a lack of access to exercise and education is often equally dangerous. Through working with the healthcare team on the reservation, the program engaged people with diabetes and encouraged them to try cycling with the goal of completing El Tour de Tucson. 3 years later and each of those initial riders has returned to serve as a mentor and bought friends and family with them. in 2015 over 100 participants finished their goal event, thousands of pounds have been lost and blood glucose management has seen drastic improvement.
"To research and implement peer mentored, exercise based lifestyle interventions in resource poor diabetes communities. Focusing on goal events, we aim to use community based education and exercise programs to empower people to live healthier and happier lives as well as to be changemakers in their own communities."
Pascua Yaqui living below the poverty line
Pascua Yaqui diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes
National average diagnosis rate for Type 2 Diabetes
Our model is a peer mentored, event focused, community-based lifestyle intervention that uses exercise and education to empower people with diabetes to live healthier and happier lives. Building on the huge success that a pilot program has had on the Pascua Yaqui reservation, we want to grow the program to work with other people living with diabetes in resource poor communities.
Native Americans have the highest rates of diabetes of any ethnic group in the nation. Native women have an overall diagnosed diabetes rate of 16%, compared to the general U.S. population rate of 7.1% . The rate of diabetes diagnosis amongst Native American people has increased over the past ten years by approximately 25%. Type 2 diabetes is biologically familial among Native Amercians. Type 2 diabetes may be increased by social factors such as a lack of access to healthy food, dietary habits and traditions and the absence of education around diet and exercise. These social factors are all present in many Native American settings.
If you live near one of our programs, we can accept equipment donations. Click on the donation link in the menu and let us know what gear you've got and we will put it to use with one of our riders.
If you'd like to help us out with a donation, please click the donation link below. Even if you can only spare a few dollars, this could help buy bike parts, equipment or education materials which help to empower people to change their lives for the better.
If you can join us for one of our goal events, please click the registration and fundraising link below and you can make every mile you ride count towards our goal of empowering people to live healthier and happier lives.