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Mar 07

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Racing the bulge

Childhood obesity has become a major public health problem. According to the National Institutes of Health, (NIH) childhood overweight and obesity has reached epidemic proportions nationally and globally. Crunching the numbers NIH says between 1970 and 2004, the prevalence of the overweight almost tripled among U.S. preschoolers and adolescents and quadrupled among children aged 6 to11 years. But that is not all.  In 2003-2004, 17.1% of children aged 2 to 19 years were at or above the 95th percentile of Body Mass Index (BMI) compared to 5-6% in the 1970s.
Obesity does not discriminate hence overweight children are a common occurrence in all racial groups though children and families from low socio-economic status are affected the most. NIH says at least 25 million children and adolescents in our country are overweight or obese.
Childhood obesity has been linked to numerous health risks and complications which includes hypertension, atherosclerosis, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, sleep disorders and many more. Researchers say childhood obesity increases the risk of being obese in adulthood. Moreover, there are psychological effects such as stigmatization, discrimination, depression and emotional trauma.
Furthermore, attitudes, cultural background, food preferences, advertisement and food marketing, plus technological advancements are just a few of the multiple factors that contribute to childhood obesity.
The Lone Star State has claimed the 12th most obese state in the nation. Little Texans did not fare better either. A Texas-sized 40% of young Texans are obese or overweight according to Texas Children’s Hospital.
Nonetheless, there is hope as communities across our nation fight obesity.
Starting from schools,  NFL PLAY 60 to Professional Athletes Against Childhood Obesity the battle for bodies and minds of young people is on with the goal of winning the battle of the bulge.
David Mims is a retired NFL player from Dangerfield and founder of Professional Athletes Against Childhood Obesity, a non-profit company. According to Mims, his group is committed to eliminating obesity among America’s youth. The organization’s many initiatives emphasize the importance of proper nutrition, physical fitness and additional factors that contribute to a healthy body weight. Mims has taken his initiatives against childhood obesity to public schools.  His goal is for K-5th grades to maintain a healthy lifestyle through the right knowledge, exercise and nutrition. According to Mims there are 1,600 students currently enrolled in the program. The results are exciting. “There is a level of self-esteem that we are beginning to see in students that was not there before,” he said. “They are beginning to embrace the whole challenge both mental and physical.”
Mims graduated with a degree in Finance from Baylor University and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in 1993 and played as their wide receiver.  What’s more, he has owned businesses in Houston but came back to serve East Texans. According to Mims he wanted to do something substantial for others. And since childhood obesity is an epidemic, he brought football skills in nutrition, physical and mental challenge to the young east Texans. Currently, he is working with Spring Hill and White Oak ISDs.
To boot, Kay Doss Chairman, Panther Health and Wellness is keyed up about Mims’ program. “Our children have become excited with specific goals,” she said. “And, we have seen a change in behavior and academics.”  She called Mims ideas and program “A once in a life-time opportunity.” “This is the sprinkle of motivation that our students need.”
The biggest sprinkle of motivation is the upcoming fun run slated for March 31st at the Panther stadium, 3101 Spring Hill Road.  Highlights of the day include professional athletes, nutritious food, much fun and more.
Registration fees are $10 for students 14 years and under, $25 for the general registration. All proceeds from this Run will benefit Spring Hill ISD.
Race Day Timeline:
7:00 a.m.     Registration
8:00 a.m.     Fun run starts
8:30 a.m.     5K starts
10:00 a.m.   Awards
Some of the sponsors and partners are: NFL Play60, Longview Regional Medical Center, Good Shepherd Medical Center, CenterPoint Energy, RunOn!, WOL Petroleum, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, UPS, Pietros Pizza, Law Offices of Goudarzi and Young LLP, LeTourneau, Chick-fil-A, US Marines, and AstraZeneca.
Find the event and register on line at www.RunOnTexas.com

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