First Lady Michelle Obama, with the help of some of nation’s top athletes, is trying to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S., where one-third of the nation’s youth is overweight or obese. In a report released in 2009 by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, South Carolina is ranked 13th in obese and overweight children at 33.7 percent and fifth in adult obesity at 29.7 percent.
The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition is challenging children and their families to adopt a more healthy lifestyle. Co-chairing the President’s council along with Super Bowl Champion quarterback Drew Brees is Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes. Dawes says adopting a healthier lifestyle should be a family affair with parents leading the way.
This month’s initiative is working in tandem with the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign focused on solving childhood obesity within a generation. Youths and their parents who adopt a more healthy lifestyle can earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award by doing 60 minutes of physical activity per day for five days a week for six weeks.
Dawes says understandably, persons young or old with sedentary lifestyles have to set goals for becoming more active. They must start slowly and build from there. Dawes says the first step is to “open your front door and start walking.” Dawes says she set a goal for herself at the age of 1o to become an Olympic gymnast. She says her coach told her that to reach her goal she must put in her body the proper fuel and that’s the message she is delivering to young people today.
Dawes says she and Co-chair Drew Brees want to assure people trying to lead healthier lifestyles that they don’t have to abandon so called fun foods, but should enjoy them in moderation. Dawes says she certainly does.