The National Football League, when it’s not covering up scandals and employing wife beaters and accomplices to murder, sometimes promotes some good to the world. Their PLAY 60 campaign encourages young ballers to get off their asses, put the Xbox down, and play outside at least 60 minutes a day. Beings we’re behind anything involving physical activity, we applaud the NFL for this program.
Unfortunately, in a new report released literally 23 minutes before I started typing this article, childhood obesity in America is still going up. Why? Well the simple scientific answer is the same as it’s always been: eat more calories than you’re burning off as energy. And as of 2012, 18% of kids 6-11 years old were obese. But there’s more to it.
Apparently China got jealous and decided the Eric Cartman look was a better fit for their youth as their own childhood obesity is on the rise as well. Back in the 80’s only 1% of Chinese kids were obese. As of 2014 it’s at around 13% (17% for boys, 9% for girls) and you probably could guess the traditional Chinese diet has shifted to more fat, low fiber thanks to a culture bomb known as the slow colonization including western food. And it’s not video games doing it, it’s what is consumed while doing nothing to burn the sugar off.
Now I know what you’re saying (I’ve bugged your house and wiretapped your phone). You’re probably saying “But Dru, don’t you want a fatter, plumper America so you can have more clients?”
As a fitness professional we love clients but we also know a healthy country is a happier, smarter country for the most part. And right now that is simply not happening. Michelle Obama did implement the “Let’s Move” campaign a bit ago, but that worked as well as Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign in the 80’s. It was put out there, people thought it was a great slogan as they were doing lines of coke off Samantha Fox’s ass at the local discotech. And the same goes for the “Let’s Move” push. America is now pushing around 6 million kids with not just obesity but SEVERE obesity. The kind that leads to the early development of kid diabetes, lil’ hypertension and My First Asthma. Additionally these statistics are where? You guessed it, mostly in the poorer cities and those with on the lower class side of things.
If you’re in the fitness industry like us, you know that the large bulk of people who come to us for help lack one thing: how to implement a nutrition plan. The sad fact that we’re in an age of any information you need right at your fingertips, but it’s primarily being used to do Google searches on things other than “proper diet” or “nutrition”. And it’s a fact that obese children generally have obese parents as well. The lack of information and/or the implementation of the information is all to often promoted more in one direction while unimportant things or bad information is shoveled towards the lower economic bracket.
Maybe it’s on us, in the fitness industry, to do more to reach kids. Many that are considered in the fitness industry spend so much time promoting to grow a business we forget that the information we have isn’t inclusive and should be used to help EVERYONE if we’re able to spread it around. Since it seems mass marketing and bad information (like boxed juice has some sort of nutritional content which is FUCKING WRONG) keeps getting pushed to kids like heroin to a Seattle musician. Much like when a rockstar has the microphone to spread a message to fight the establishment, this is where us as fitness industry professionals can get our punk rock on and get the word out as much as possible, industry of showing how awesome we look with our shirt off in front of a mirror on social media all the time. If the NFL is making a better effort than us, it’s time for us to step up.