Hopi Health Care Center presents 'Be Hopi Be Healthy' summer program

KYKOTSMOVI-To help the youth in our communities lead healthy lifestyles through physical activity, nutrition, and cultural values, two departments at Hopi Health Care Center (HHCC) collaborated to create the Be Hopi Be Healthy (BHBH) Summer Camp which was held in five villages across the Hopi Reservation throughout the month of July.

The camp is part of the larger BHBH Project written by members of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HP/DP) and Public Health Nursing (PHN) departments at HHCC. The goal of this project is to decrease the prevalence of obesity among children on the Hopi Reservation and within the larger service unit of HHCC.

This health risk was brought to the attention of health professionals at HHCC during the annual health screenings conducted at the elementary schools across the reservation. These screenings found that 35 percent of all Hopi elementary school students are either overweight or obese, a rate 2-3 times greater than the national average. This is particularly harmful to the community because children who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life. While the camps are geared toward elementary school-age students who are heavier than 95 percent of their peers, everyone is welcome to attend. The camps last for three days at each village from 1-4 p.m. each day.

Miriam Stacey, Director of PHN and co-writer of the BHBH program, feels that the summer camp is a good way for the entire family to learn to work toward a healthy lifestyle. "Coming together as a family, supporting and encouraging one another, will help us work towards prevention of chronic illnesses in our children," she said.

During Day One of the camp, HHCC collaborates with the Hopi Wellness Center and Hopi Wildlife Management to promote physical fitness and activity through stretching and warm-ups, icebreaker games, and a nature walk scavenger hunt. These activities are both simple and fun experiences that the children and their parents can recreate beyond the program.

During Day Two, HHCC collaborates with the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office and Natwani Coalition to present a lesson on the cultural and nutritional fundamentals of corn. Through presentations, games, and discussion, the groups hope to emphasize the importance of traditional Hopi teachings to health and wellness.

To conclude the program, on Day Three, HP/DP and PHN staff offer general education regarding the health risks and affects of obesity and ways that families can improve their overall well-being through preventative measures such as regular physical activity and healthy eating.

Additionally, participants and parents are recognized for their progress and attendance at the camp with certificates, healthy snacks, and games.

The Kykotsmovi Summer Camp was held from July 9 to July 11 at Hopi Day School. The Hotevilla Summer Camp took place on July 12, 16, and 17 at the Hotevilla Youth/Elderly Center. The Shungopavi Summer Camp was held at the Shungopavi Elderly Center on July 18, 19, and 23. The First Mesa Summer Camp will take place at FMCV from July 24-26. The final Sipaulovi/Mishongnovi Summer Camp will take place on July 30, 31, and August 1 at the Sipaulovi/Mishongnovi Community Center.

Any questions about the program can be directed to Samantha Lee in HP/DP, who can be reached during work hours at (928) 737-6347.

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