More proof that traditional lifestyles are better for your health. An Australian Aboriginal community is taking on diabetes by going back to the land.

The program was started by two grandmothers. It focused on boosting physical activity among people who have diabetes and their families.

Older women started playing basketball. People went to the bush so they could get traditional food like snakes, lizards and crayfish.

Before the program, diabetes was prevalent in Looma, a community in northern Australia. But after the program was brought in, the level of diabetes has levelled out and held steady. At the same time, it increased in other communities.

Nutritionist Kerrin O’Dea gave a talk about the program in Montreal at an international nutrition conference. She is known for work showing that traditional Native food is low in fat and high in fiber and other nutrients.

A few years ago, she went in the bush with a group of Native diabetics for six weeks. They ate only traditional foods (nothing store-bought). People who were overweight lost weight and their blood sugars were pretty well down to normal by the end of the six weeks.

-Cree Health Board, Public Health Module