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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Pro Golfer Notah Begay III Brings Anti-diabetes and Youth Wellness Message to 194 Native American Schools With New Technology
by Terri Hansen Mother Earth Journal

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Four-time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay III is back in his hometown this weekend for a series of events that will reach out to 97 percent of all Native American students in the nation to sound the alarm about the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in Indian Country.

“This is the first generation of Native American youth that may not outlive their parents due to childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Begay, who created the NB3 Foundation to help fight childhood obesity and diabetes. “The epidemic of type 2 diabetes among our people is relative to the devastation that HIV/AIDS has caused in Africa. As Native peoples, we can’t afford to risk our future. We have to invest in the health, well being and leadership development of our Native youth.”

Partnering with Native American media organizations and the National Indian Programs Training Center, Begay will engage Native students in 194 Bureau of Indian Education schools in a one-hour televised appearance made possible by Distance Learning Center satellite uplinks. The segment, which will air on April 29 from 1 to 2 pm, will include 30 minutes of live dialog with students nationwide. It will be co-hosted by Native America Calling talk-radio host Harlan McKosato, and will be taped for replay at later dates.

A recent study of 11,000 children on 12 Indian reservations found that among five-year olds, 47 percent of boys and 41 percent of girls were overweight, and 24 percent of children surveyed were obese, twice the national average. In New Mexico, 61 percent of Native American children between ages of 2-19 years are overweight. Obesity is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes.

“We’re engaged in a multi-prong effort through sports, health and leadership programs for Native youth to help to start turning the tide against this epidemic,” said Begay. “I’ve dedicated my life to this, and I hope more and more people will join NB3 in this fight. It’s a universal health issue that affects all people in this country.”

Begay will also share his youth wellness message on more than 67 tribal and public radio stations as a guest on Native America Calling from 11 am to noon MST on April 29. Begay will be in-studio with high school and college students from the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of California who are part of a leadership development program sponsored by NB3. The students are taking part in a journalism seminar to expose them to career opportunities in news and media that include radio, television, magazine and social media platforms.

In 2009, the San Manuel Tribe generously contributed to the NB3 Foundation Challenge to construct a $750,000 soccer field and community park in San Felipe Pueblo, the first recreational facility in the Pueblo’s history. The San Manuel students will visit the new soccer field and attend San Felipe Feast over the weekend documenting the growing relationship between the tribes and their youth.

“The San Manuel Tribe has been a founding partner of the NB3 Foundation since 2008 and a major supporter of me as a professional golfer and advocate for Native American youth,” said Begay, who is from the Navajo, San Felipe and Isleta Tribes. “Their strategic investment, with other supporters, has positioned NB3 to address the real needs of Native American youth facing type 2 diabetes. San Manuel is a philanthropic leader in Indian Country that has invested millions of dollars to support Native youth and create positive change.”

Since 2005, NB3 Foundation has created youth sports and wellness programs to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, and to promote the leadership development of Native American youth. Through its annual NB3 Foundation Challenge, NB3 has raised more than $2.4 million for golf and soccer programs, and also built new facilities with the generous support of sponsoring tribes and private donors. So far, more than 3,850 Native youth have participated in NB3 soccer and golf programs.

“The NB3 Foundation is part of a growing national movement to change the tide that is currently claiming the lives and futures of our most precious resource, our Native youth,” said NB3 Executive Director, Crystal Echo Hawk. “They are our future leaders and cultural keepers, and we are launching a call to action for more tribes, organizations and communities to join us in this effort. It will take nothing short of a national movement in Indian Country to turn this around.”

NB3 also has established a partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. Through a series of studies in 2010, Johns Hopkins found that the NB3 Foundation is succeeding in its efforts to create evidence-based sports programming. NB3 programs “may be early predictors of reduced rates of obesity and diabetes as participating children age,” the findings said.

“The NB3 Foundation is a reflection of Notah’s life and vision – that sports can play a transformative role in the life of Native American youth. For our part, NB3 is dedicated to creating and implementing evidence-based sports, health and leadership programming that can prevent childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes among Native youth that can eventually be replicated throughout Indian Country.”

For more information, go to

About Notah Begay III Foundation

In 2005, Notah Begay III established the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Notah established the Foundation to address the profound health and wellness issues impacting Native American youth and to empower those youth and help them realize their potential as tomorrow’s leaders. The mission of the Foundation is to reduce the incidences of obesity and diabetes and advance the lives of Native American youth through sports and wellness programming. To this end, the mission the Foundation supports is the development of sustainable, evidence-based and innovative soccer and golf programs designed by Native Americans for Native American youth that promote physical fitness, wellness and leadership development.

For more information on Notah Begay III and the Foundation, visit:

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