Our Way To Health
The problem of OBESITY is recognized as one of the most pressing health threats faced by families and communities in the nation and the world. Today, nearly one-third of U.S. children and adolescents—about 23 million youths—are obese or overweight. Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood. Additionally, these rates continue to rise significantly among many racial and ethnic populations. A recent report indicated, those living in poverty, people of color, people with disabilities, and rural residents face increased obstacles to engaging in safe physical activity and suffer significant disparities in their overall health status and only 35.8 percent of high school students are physically active 60 minutes or more, 5 days per week; furthermore only 33 percent of all U. S. high school students attend physical education classes daily.
Unfortunately, obesity leads to other health complications like diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. The environmental triggers that are thought to generate the process that results in the destruction of the body’s insulin-producing cells are still under investigation. Type 2 diabetes, however, can be prevented in many cases by maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, about 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents.
Inspired by a newspaper story about the high rates of diabetes and obesity suffered by Native American children, Myron developed a program through his Foundation and in partnership with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to provide fitness training, health education and diabetes awareness to American Indian children. Originally implemented with fifth graders at a charter school in Okeechobee, Florida, the program caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Interior which recently expanded it to American Indian schools in New Mexico and Arizona.