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John's Running Tips

Wake-up Call!

Together, it is time we did something about the rising rate of childhood obesity rates. There are conclusive statistics that we are now in an epidemic. Obesity was once a term associated with our adult population, but in the last 30 years obesity rates have more than tripled in children. Obesity rates with young children account for some 20 % of the population.

    Some frightening items to consider:
  • Today's children will live a shorter life span than their parents. This is the first time in the history of mankind that this has happened.
  • A full 25% of our children do not partici- pate in any form of physical activity.
  • Our over-taxed health care systems face the challenge of treating obesity, which is three time more expensive than treating children of normal weight.
  • Heathcare costs of obese children are three times more expensive than for healthier kids.
  • Sleep apnea is a growing concern with obese children.
  • Fast food consumption is on the rise, particularly with kids in lower income families where two or more of their weekly meals are at fast food outlets.
  • Kids are now on their computers, playing video games or watching TV for an average of five hours a day.
  • Studies show that the poorer the diet and exercise routine the poorer their grades in school. In addition, so is their attendance at school.
  • Soft drink consumption has increased by 300% in the last 20 years; 25% of the vegetables children eat are potatoes, but these are in a French fry or chip form.
  • Cardiovascular disease is on the rise in our youth with some 70% of obese youth having at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

The solution is simple yet complex. We need to mentor children with healthy lifestyle choices. The key I feel is a regular routine of playful exercise. As runners we know that if we are planning an evening run we make a conscious decision on our food. We choose performance-based foods that will allow us to enjoy our run even more. If we do not plan a run, we are often choosing pleasurable foods, which are often the unhealthy choice. Selecting foods that fuel us for perfor- mance and combining a playful approach to regular exercise is the solution to this epidemic of obesity.

The solution rests with each of you. The burden of an overtaxed health system will also be a result if we fail to be today's mentors to today's children and tomorrow's adults. You are the master of your personal athletic program. Be the mentor of some special child in your life.

The other side of the pendulum is the inactive aging boomer. If you know and care about someone in this group, direct them to our latest online active aging training program. Together, we all can make a difference by getting people moving, and remove the burden on our fine healthcare providers.

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