Photo courtesy Diabetes Canada

Diabetes Canada held its 14th Annual Aboriginal Gathering in Prince Albert on Wednesday.

It is estimated that there are 100,000 people living with diabetes in Saskatchewan today, and another 4,300 are believed to be undiagnosed.

Saskatchewan Regional Director for Diabetes Canada, Brie Hnetka, says Aboriginal people are genetically predisposed to developing diabetes, but there are also a number of environmental factors, which can play a role.

“Access to affordable food is an issue in a lot of remote communities, as well as the environment, so is it safe in their communities to go out for a walk and to exercise, is it too cold?” she said.

One of the speakers at the event was Lyle Daniels.

At one time in his life, Daniels needed two shots of insulin every day, but since then, he has changed his diet and lost weight. He encourages others to do the same.

“Take those walks, go walk in the bush, go rabbit hunting, go trapping, do all  the stuff that traditionally have kept us physically fit in the past, especially with our ancestors,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with going back to that lifestyle to bring back an opportunity to live a long life.”

Diabetes Canada has various educational programs and support services, which are available across the province.