How to Help Kids Fight Fat
An Olympic legend joins the battle against childhood obesity.
Editors’ note: In recent weeks, the effort to control the epidemic of obesity among American children has picked up steam, with First Lady Michelle Obama announcing the beginning of her “Let’s Move” campaign. The comprehensive program involves working with food companies, businesses and physicians, Mrs. Obama said, “to take commonsense steps…to help our kids lead active, healthy lives.” And gymnast Shannon Miller, one of the most decorated and most popular Olympic athletes, has launched her own campaign to help kids get off the couch and benefit from exercise and healthy eating. Here, she talks about her efforts and why the issue of kids’ weight is so crucial.
As an athlete, I’ve been focused on good nutrition and exercise my whole life. Now that I’m a new mom, I’m more determined than ever to help people of all ages, especially children, understand the importance of being active and healthy.
Unfortunately, too many children today aren’t getting a good start when it comes to eating and exercise. The childhood obesity rate in America is distressing. More than 15 percent of children and teenagers are obese and another 15 percent are borderline. Childhood obesity has quadrupled in the past few decades. And now we’re seeing more and more children develop obesity-related diseases, like Type-2 diabetes, that are usually diagnosed in adults. Unless the trends are reversed, today’s overweight children will grow up facing higher risks for heart disease, hypertension, asthma, and other diseases. No mom or dad wants their child to face that kind of future.