OKLAHOMA CITY – The Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) announced this week a new media campaign aimed to raise awareness of the obesity epidemic in Indian Country.
According to the Center for Disease Control, obesity rates in America have tripled in the past 30 years and one in every three children in the United States is obese. Those numbers are even more astronomical for the American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) – where citizens are 1.6 times as likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic whites. A separate national study of 4-year-olds shows that tribal youth are twice as likely to be obese as their peers.
“To help bring awareness to these troubling numbers, AAIP created a media campaign that we hope will be both informative and humorous. We wanted to tap into the generation using and sharing social media,” said AAIP Executive Director Margaret Knight. “There are changes we can make to prevent the chronic diseases and mortality rates associated with obesity. And we are hoping this message is fun but also accessible and reaches tribal citizens on the media outlets they use daily.”
Oklahoma-based Buffalo Nickel Creative created the videos and accompanying posters for AAIP.
AAIP Program Director Noelle Kleszynski said the look is fun but the message is serious for Native families. She said the campaign offers some ideas about creating better access for healthy eating and exercise.
“Creating real changes that are systemic, environmental, and policy driven will improve and extend the lives of treasured elders and growing children,” Kleszynski. “We must address the obesity issue head-on and replicate successful programs that build environments conducive to physical activity and increase access to nutritious food.”
Kleszynski said grassroots solutions are possible with an inspired community.
“We hope the media campaign is something people will share and create a domino effect with its message that we can develop and offer healthier food choices for families at the local level, that we can build physical activity into everyday life and that we can work with tribal leaders to generate policies that promote these ideas,” Kleszynski said.
For more information or to order the AAIP’s anti-obesity media campaign toolkit, visit www.aaip.org or call (405) 946-7072.