Any of you who watch TV news or check out the latest news stories here on the Internet are familiar with what I’m about to discuss with you. Seems every other day there’s another story about the obesity problem in America. Oh yes, we Americans are gaining weight at an alarming rate. It’s not just because of the foods we eat, which are bad enough. But we double-down on our bad eating habits by not getting enough, if any, exercise. That’s no good, America!
But, to make matters worse, we’re passing those bad eating habits and our lack-of-exercise habits to our children! In fact, the Centers For Diseases Control confirms that childhood obesity in the U.S. has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Roughly 20 percent of America’s children between the ages of 6-19 already have serious weight problems. And the really bad news is that percentage is growing, right along with their weight.
In this high tech world of ours, we’ve gotten used to having everything we want… fast! That would help explain the literally thousands of fast food places that now dot our national landscape. And oh yes, from an early age our children are bombarded with TV commercials and billboards. They’re told to try the latest burger, fries or chocolate shake… loaded with chocolate cookie chunks, even. And let’s not even discuss the sugar-loaded breakfast cereals your kids insist they’ve got to have. Oh, my!
America’s children are not only loading up on calories and fat from one burger chain or another. The exclamation point on the end is that they’re not exercising very much either. That is, unless you count working out their fingers on the latest electronics device or texting messages to their friends “exercise.” Our kids aren’t exercising during their free time, and they’re certainly not working out at school!
Now I’ll admit, I never had to take P.E. when I was a kid. That’s because I had severe asthma problems growing up. I used to watch the other kids taking P.E., doing all of that exercise and thought what they were doing was just about the silliest thing I’d ever seen. Okay, I was young and didn’t know and better. But boy, do I ever know better today!
I never got to appreciate the importance of exercise when I was school-aged. In fact, back then, the most exercise I’d get was walking to the A&P down on Royal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Of course, once I got there, I’d stock up chips, candy and my favorite bottle of soda. (Sounds like the way some of today’s children eat, I’m sorry to say.)
For kids of all ages (including 60-somethings like me), I now know that exercise is such an important part of our daily lives. There are pages of scientific data to back up the fact that exercise makes us more fit, makes us smarter and, of course, adds years to our lives. Now tell me, who doesn’t want those kinds of benefits for themselves, and especially for their children?
That’s why, for more than six years now, I’ve been working hard in my efforts to make P.E., once again, part of the core curriculum in America’s public schools. I’ve appeared on hundreds of TV and radio shows to promote this effort. I’ve also taught exercise classes at that many schools and universities to drive home the importance of physical fitness among America’s young people. I’ve even testified before Congress for the Fit Kids Bill sponsored by those congressmen in Washington who’ve joined me in this effort.
But, I’m sad to say, in the current political season our efforts to get America’s school children more fit have been placed on the back burner. Looks like, with a national election coming up in November, Senators and members of Congress, up for reelection, are mostly in campaign mode.
But let me ask you something. While those members of Congress are working hard to earn votes here in 2012, who is voting for our kids? Ask any congressman and I bet they’ll say to you something like: Our children’s good health is critically important to the future of our entire nation’s good health. Sounds good to me, Mr. or Mrs. Senator, and who would disagree with you? But if we’re going to build a stronger America and a more competitive America, then it just makes plain common sense. We need stronger young people, too! After all, they are the future of America!
Thankfully, I have friends in Congress committed to making our Fit Kids Bill a reality. But, to bring us closer to reaching our goal, I need your help.
I need you to join our fight, and you can do it by writing your own senators and congressmen. Remind them that to make our nation stronger, we need our country’s future leaders, our children, to be more fit and healthy. It’s been proven that those young people who get regular exercise actually learn better in the classroom. That’s just one of the reasons we need P.E. back in our schools.
So, how can you help? Click this link and it will take you to my website, where you can join our P.E. Crusade. There, you’ll be able to write your own congressmen and let them know it’s time to pass the Fit Kids Bill. Not only do our children’s futures depend on it, a stronger America depends on it, too. Please… join us!
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