Santa Barbara, CA---Rates of type 2 diabetes continue to rise across the United States. For many young people at risk of this type of diabetes, positive lifestyle changes, especially physical activity, can have a major impact in reducing personal risk of developing the condition. Sansum Diabetes Research Institute has (SDRI) visited the Santa Barbara School of Squash (SBSOS) twice, including this week, to see how SBSOS is promoting physical activity for local young people as well as providing after school academic activities. SBSOS is a non-profit after school program that provides tutoring, squash instruction, and mentoring to underprivileged youth in Santa Barbara. Many of the SBSOS students are from the local Latino community where rates of diabetes are almost double that seen in the background population. As one game of squash burns about 1000 calories, playing squash is a great way to achieve personal fitness and is highly enjoyed by many participants.
During the visits, Henry Valora, from SDRI, talked at length with the students, ages 10 to 13, about the importance of physical activity and healthy eating as a way to prevent diabetes and other serious medical conditions. In turn, the SBSOS students showed off their skills at the game of squash, many of whom are already achieving a high standard.
The SBSOS students were mostly of Latino descent and expressed interest in learning more about diabetes, as many of their family members had already been affected by diabetes. They also heard more about Mil Familias – the major initiative launched by SDRI aimed at dramatically reducing rates of diabetes for Latino families on the Central Coast. Mil Familias will eventually enroll one thousand local families and, for the first time in this population, look at the five major determinants of health and disease (genetics, biology, behavior, psychology and society) covering around 100 different variables to try to understand why diabetes is so common and most importantly what can be done to reduce the risk for adults, children and young people.
SDRI advances new technologies and produces groundbreaking diabetes treatments. Research projects such as Mil Familias are some of the many accomplishments SDRI intends to use to launch its goals into the future, leveraging the energy and commitment that made SDRI what it is today: a worldwide leader in diabetes research, education and care.
SBSOS is an urban youth enrichment program that offers academic tutoring, squash instruction, community service, and mentoring to underprivileged youth in Santa Barbara. SBSOS pairs academic and athletic resources to students of Santa Barbara schools, creating a sustainable model of self-improvement. By providing these children with consistent services, SBSOS guides each child to fulfill their academic and personal potential.
Click here for more information on Mil Familias