From the 2012-2013 President of the Association of American Indian Physicians, Nicole Stern M.D., Board Certified Physician in Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine (Mescalero Apache):
Sorry it has taken me so long to complete the next segment of our “healthy living” section. Now that we are well past making and already failing on our “New Year’s Resolutions”, I would like to give you some extra motivation. Here are some suggestions:
First, of course, make sure you are eating a healthy well-balanced diet composed of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low or non-fat dairy products.
Second, think about how you are going to put physical fitness and exercise into your life.
If you have not already, go to this website now: www.health.gov/paguidelines. I will summarize a few brief points as follows:
Children and adolescents need 1 hour of physical activity daily.
Adults need 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week to see substantial health benefits of exercise. According to the guidelines, if you can do this activity in 10 minute periods spread throughout the week that is best.
In Indian Country, we talk about our work or home environment (the built environment) and how conducive it may or may not be to exercising. However, you can do this aerobic activity in your home (you don’t need a gym!), and many workplaces are now incorporating “walk-breaks” in the mornings or afternoons (work policy changes).
So go out there you all and work out! But please read the guidelines first especially if you have any chronic medical conditions or disabilities or you are/were pregnant.
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About Dr. Nicole Stern
Dr. Stern is a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe of New Mexico. She received her B.A. from Stanford University and her M.D. from the University of Arizona. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Arizona College Of Medicine and her fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. During her fellowship she completed a research project on childhood obesity at the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic and she also co-produced a documentary film with AAIP about a young man living with AIDS. This documentary was distributed to American Indian health clinics around the country.
Currently, Dr. Stern works as a staff and team physician at the University of California Santa Barbara Student Health Service. Dr. Stern’s research interests include disease prevention through exercise and organized sports programs for youth, childhood obesity, and the prevention of other health disparities affecting American Indian communities.
She is the President of the Association of American Indian Physicians, a national non-profit organization based in Oklahoma City.