Here are photos recently sent in from PATHSTAR — a year-round program to encourage healthy nutrition and active lifestyle practices in Native communities — of Native Americans from Alaska, Washington and the San Francisco Bay Area visiting Half Moon Bay and Pescadero during the 10th annual PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week, Sept. 30-Oct. 8.
For this annual Alcatraz swim week program, Native American novice swimmers complete the Alcatraz to San Francisco swim on the last day of the event.
They also participate in other events during the week, including a visit to the Coastside Farmer's Market in Half Moon Bay and Del Sur Farm in Pescadero.
Del Sur Farm owner Guillermo Bayley gave the Native Americans a tour of the farm and vegetable crops that included a discussion of irrigation techniques and how to operate a small-scale farm and setup a community farmers' market.
The annual PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week engages Native Americans in a weeklong event of learning about healthy nutrition and fitness practices to combat diabetes and related diseases.
This year's event had added relevance as nationwide efforts to combat obesity — particularly among the nation's youth — has sparked increasing attention. A leading risk factor of diabetes, obesity is affecting American Indian/Alaska Natives, especially youth, at an alarming rate. According to the National Indian Health Board, 1 in 3 Native children are overweight or obese before their 5th birthday.
American Indian/Alaska Natives teens drink more sugary drinks daily than any other racial ethnic group, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. Natives with California tribal heritage are twice as likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes as individuals from tribes outside the state (31% vs.16%).
“Participants return home as ambassadors for healthy change,” said Pete Verral, community outreach coordinator for PATHSTAR, “sharing their knowledge with family, friends and community.”