How One Fitness Enthusiast Is Tackling the Navajo Diabetes Crisis

From Men’s Health

LOREN ANTHONY’S BACKYARD gym keeps growing. Early this year, he had a few wooden beams. When summer ended, he had railroad ties, chains, and crates, MacGyver-ing them together for deadlifts and shoulder presses.

The 37-year-old grits out a workout session nearly every day, often uploading clips to his Instagram or Facebook account. It’s how he inspires his Diné people to find ways to train—and he desperately wants them to do that. “I want more people to understand that fitness is a lifestyle that isn’t a trend,” he says.

It’s a lifestyle that Anthony hopes more in the Navajo Nation can embrace, because it may be the key to overcoming the health issue that’s plagued them since the early 1970s: diabetes. Roughly one in every five Navajo has prediabetes, the highest ratio of any racial or ethnic group in the U. S.

Dietary issues are part of the problem. When the Diné were forced off their homeland and moved to Bosque Redondo, in present-day southeast New Mexico, they relied on second-rate government rations due to crop failure and alkaline water. More than a century later, prepackaged foods sold at gas-station convenience stores are the easiest meal choice, partly because there are just 11 grocery stores on the reservation’s 27,413-square-mile expanse.

Lack of fitness facilities and instruction is the other issue. Gyms are an uncommon sight on Navajo lands. When the government started the Special Diabetes Program for Indians in 1997, the Navajo Nation built seven “wellness centers” on the reservation. Even before coronavirus concerns led those gyms to temporarily shut down, limited hours prevented many Navajo from reaching them.

Anthony understands these struggles. His grandparents were diabetic, and his father died of heart failure in 2013, the result of unaddressed heart issues. In 2009, Anthony himself weighed 298 pounds and struggled to breathe and move. Doctors told him he was prediabetic and had high blood pressure. “I really didn’t want the end of me to happen because I didn’t take care of myself,” he says.

He took up bodybuilding and powerlifting, studying both on YouTube. After several years of daily training, he was down more than a hundred pounds. (He currently weighs 181.) He did most of his training at a gym and a football field in nearby Gallup, New Mexico.

Photo credit: Steven St John

In late 2012, he started a workout group, the Iron Warriors. The group met for free workouts twice a week at Gallup’s public school stadium. It began with five people, but within a year, at least 100 were lining up for the field sprints, bear crawls, walking lunges, and pushups. Occasionally, he also held sessions in the community of Tohatchi, in the Navajo Nation, as well as in Phoenix and Albuquerque.

The pandemic forced Anthony to pause his Iron Warriors sessions in March, but he won’t let it quiet his fitness message. He knows diabetes can be beaten, because he’s done it: He’s no longer at risk of the

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Commentary: Tackling the Twin Crises of Childhood Hunger and COVID-19 | Best Countries

The world is experiencing an overwhelming hunger epidemic made worse by the global COVID-19 pandemic. And while hunger impacts people of all ages, it devastates our most vulnerable population: children.

According to UNICEF, nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are due to undernutrition. This global crisis is too large of a problem for any one segment of society to tackle and requires the combined efforts of government, nonprofit organizations and the business community.

For decades, governments have worked independently to tackle the challenge from abroad. Nongovernmental organizations worked on shoestring budgets to help ensure food shipments were delivered and distributed, but even their efforts were consistently disrupted due to supply chain problems, corruption and government inefficiencies.

As global leaders in nutrition at Herbalife Nutrition, we are committed to doing our part to make sure no child goes without a meal, because we know how critical it is that children receive proper nutrition. The impact of hunger on children can have consequences that last a lifetime, as food insecurity is associated with delayed development in young children, behavioral problems, risk of chronic illnesses and lower academic achievement. The situation is exacerbated by the present pandemic, as the deteriorating economy has led to greater rates of unemployment and to the shuttering of schools and school meal programs.

This year will add as many as 132 million more people to the world’s food insecure population. In the United States, families with children – often woman-headed, single-parent households – are most likely to miss rent payments, lack funds for food and face unemployment. Food banks are struggling to fill the void and the demand far outstrips the supply.

Across the globe, children often get their meals at school because they do not have access to sufficient food at their homes. The World Food Program says 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, which significantly impacts their ability to learn. Meals and snacks from schools are estimated to satisfy as much as two-thirds of children’s daily nutritional needs.

This is our reality. But we don’t need to accept it. We can’t accept it.

With the number of hungry children growing each day, companies, nonprofits and governments must rise to meet this incredible challenge. Solutions are critical, and include the need to promote access and behaviors for sustainable healthy diets and addressing how to adapt global food systems to meet these needs. At Herbalife, we work with nonprofits globally to support critical programs that bridge the vast and growing food divide and raise awareness for how companies and consumers can help provide children and families access to the healthy food they need to thrive.

Through these partnerships, Nutrition for Zero Hunger has made nearly 700,000 nutritious meals available to children and families, delivered more than 500,000 servings of donated products and 3,500 pounds of food to families in need, helped provide close to 48,000 women with breastfeeding and nutrition education, and supplied 40,0000 children with essential

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