Most of you know that the VL and her MAN recently entered a 5K race while enjoying their stay on Tybee Island, GA. This was the second year participating – and again, it was so fun….rewarding…and well, exhausting!!!
We felt GREAT afterward….and PROUD! And, yes……glad it was over! But – what was the BEST part of our participation you ask – well, hopefully are at least wondering…….it was seeing children participating.
And there were SO many of them…..and not just in the typical “kids run” – …..there were many children who participated in the 5K, 10K and even the 1/2 marathon..
Childhood obesity scares me…..and it should scare each of you reading this. One in three children in this country is OBESE. If we don’t solve this problem……1/3 of all kids born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity related health problems – heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma.
And – on top of all that is the emotional pain of “bullying.” Being a kid is tough – but being an overweight kid is REALLY tough. The psychological stress of social stigmatization can cause low self-esteem which, in turn, can hinder academic and social functioning, and persist into adulthood. While research is still being conducted, there have been some studies showing that obese children are not learning as well as those who are not obese. Further, physical fitness has been shown to be associated with higher achievement.
How did we get to this point? Well, let me count the ways……fast food, video games, busy BUSY parents, cell phones, snacking instead of family meals, internet, movies, sugar sweetened everything – the average American consumes 15 more pounds of sugar than in 1970…….larger portions (Super-Size)……I could go on and on and I am sure you could as well.
Now – what are “we” going to do about it? Yes – WE – everyone has a role to play in reducing childhood obesity, including parents, grandparents, elected officials from all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, faith-based and community-based organizations, and private sector companies. I challenge each of you to be part of the answer to childhood obesity.