NM pueblo breaks ground on $20M wellness center

SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M. (AP) — Santa Ana Pueblo is breaking ground on a $20 million health and wellness center to combat obesity, diabetes and other concerns that have plagued Native American communities.

The pueblo is having a special ceremony Saturday to kick off construction of the center. It's expected to be open in early 2016.

Santa Ana Gov. George Montoya says the tribal council recognized the prevalence of obesity and diabetes and passed a resolution to build the facility.

A pueblo health study revealed 59 percent of children seen at the local health clinic between 2010 and 2012 were diagnosed with being overweight or obese, and half of tribal member deaths between 2006 and 2011 were diabetes related.

The first phase of the project will include a fitness center, basketball courts and a family recreation area.

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