In response to record numbers indicating poor health and associated practices in Oklahoma and specifically Osage County, the Osage Nation is sponsoring an annual event to rival all previous health initiatives on the Osage Reservation, the tribe announced in a press release.
The Nation is taking on obesity, smoking and nutrition in several events: a 5K race, an “amazing race” across the reservation’s capital, family fun activities and a down-sized "amazing race" for youth.
All activities will take place in Pawhuska with races starting at the tribe's Cultural Park and going across town. Registration for the 5K is scheduled to begin April 1.
“It’s an overall health initiative the tribe is putting on and we want to set the example on being proactive,” said Gail Boe, Osage Nation Communities of Excellence program director. “The nation is aware of the obesity rate. We are in the top ten states in the nation for least healthy communities. We eat fewer fresh fruits and vegetables than any other state.”
Oklahoma ranks among the top ten states for the worst health—and highest in obesity and smoking, according to the 2011 State of the State’s Health Report. Oklahoma ranked 43rd in the nation in 2012 for overall health statistics, an improvement from the 2011 rating of 46th, United Health Foundation 2012 Oklahoma Health Statistics. Other alarming 2012 numbers from the foundation include: 47th in the U.S. for smoking, 45th in the U.S. for obesity, 45th in the U.S. for sedentary lifestyle, 43rd in the U.S. for rate of diabetes, 48th in the U.S. for cardiovascular deaths, 42nd in the U.S. for cancer deaths, 46th in the U.S. for premature deaths, 40th in the U.S. for youth smoking, and 42nd in the U.S. for youth obesity.
Smoking commercial tobacco is a direct cause for several of these health disparities. The tribe's Communities of Excellence Program works hard to reduce and eliminate the number of smokers and secondhand smoke on the Osage Reservation. The program has a tough job considering the constant flow of deceptive promotional practices by commercial tobacco industry, the press release states.
Fifty percent of youth surveyed in Oklahoma in 2011 reported having tried smoking cigarettes and 23 percent reported smoking within the last 30 days. In a report from the Oklahoma County Health Department, deceptive practices by tobacco industry were exposed with documented proof of young people being the target of intensive marketing efforts to ensure a new crop of smokers.
Fighting tobacco use and sedentary lifestyles is the purpose of the May 11, “5K Run For The Health Of It”. Osage Nation Health Division programs are combining man power and resources to educate and encourage people to begin living healthier lives.
The 5K was an annual event from 2008 to 2010 and dropped out in 2011 and 2012. In the past, it had successful results with good attendance and support from the community. This year will be the biggest event and a huge revitalization to the purpose of the healthy living event.
The 5K will be divided by age groups and gender. A one-mile family fun run/walk will also take place to encourage families and children to start enjoying healthy activities together. The day’s events are free and open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
Those interested in participating can call Communities of Excellence, (918)287-5267, for 5K registration information and vendor booth space. Booth space is limited and food vendors are required to provide only healthy food choices. The last day to register for booth space is April 19 at 3 pm.
Call the Clinical/Medical Program, (918)287-5528, for more information about the, “Osage Nation Amazing Race For The Health Of It.”
For more information about secondhand smoke and quitting smoking, contact the Osage Nation Communities of Excellence at (918)287-5267, or the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or visit www.osagetribe.com/excellence, www.keepitsacred.org, www.ok.gov/stopswithme, www.breatheasyok.com.