Chief Technology Officer & Photographer | Irvine, CA

Killing the “Fat Gene” in America

My new favorite show – MTV’s “I Used to be Fat” – for obvious reasons.

I just watched the “Gabriella” episode. High school senior, 253lbs @ 5’7″, and tired of being fat. Her trainer pushed her non-stop for 111 days. At the end of the episode, she was a completely different person @ 163lbs. Her Mother had a hard time during her transformation, and some ugly things came out during – you should really just watch the episode, I won’t ruin it completely for you.

Source: MTV.com

It makes me feel good to see shows like this – real people struggling with real issues and overcoming them. I can totally relate to these kids (30 years of teasing & being called “fat ass” by randoms, friends, & loved ones). I really can’t even explain how proud I am of her.

(read: I got something in my eye that made it water – no, seriously)

Children > Parents

It’s no secret that America is the fattest nation in the world, however, that can be changed. It’s not going to be easy, but it starts with children. Children pick up habits from their parents, but trying to change a parent to effect change in their child(en) is far harder then changing a child to effect change in their parent(s).

This is a touchy subject. You can’t just walk up to a kid and tell them, “Hey kid, you’re kinda chubby, let’s get you on the treadmill.”, nor can you go up to a parent of that same child and make a similar comment. No matter how light-hearted or politically correct you make your comment, it’ll go over about as well as a turd in a punchbowl.

Children have power in numbers, and in my opinion, children respond the best to some kind of “game” when you want them to do anything.

What if there was a game/challenge setup at schools, and as the kids passed certain levels of learning about nutrition or fitness, they were rewarded in some way significant to them? Don’t you remember selling those damn chocolate bars in elementary school so you could win a “insert something rad”? Get something like that in to a cycle and we might be able to create a good habit for a significant amount of kids with exponential growth possibilities until near¬†eradication.

Problem solved? Thoughts?

Comments

  1. tdhurst says:

    I remember physical fitness badges in gym class. Presidents or something. Had to climb a rope, do x number of situps, shuttle run in x seconds. It was great, but it seemed to only reward the fantastic athletes, not the kids, like me, who were always on that brink but never figured out how to break through.

    I still hate climbing rope.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, but I can’t imagine “badges” being something of real value to the kids. It has to be something that the majority of the kids at the school would see as a benefit to really putting in the effort.

      Every kid will have their own level of fitness achieved, and it shouldn’t single any kids out, it should group them together as “teams” – where individual effort goes in to the collective effort “bin”.

      Instead of x number of situps, I’m thinking of, I read x number of pages in my fitness manual, I completed x number of exercises this week, and my progress from last week was by this percent (calculations of course need to be determined).

      I seriously think something like that will go a long way, just have to find the “reward”.

      • tdhurst says:

        In my last year of junior high (I transferred because district boundaries changed) we had levels of PE classes A, B and C. We were all given a fitness test at the beginning of the year and were placed into classes based on PE teacher recommendations.

        For the most part, we all played the same sports, but the C level had more lower impact exercises for the super out of shape or just not agile kids.

        If someone performed well in a lower class, they were allowed to move up based on teacher approval. While I loved this system (I was in the A group) and most of the C level people did too, the B group hated it. My brother, who was in the B group in 7th grade, never, ever was below A after that and actually started training harder for sports after that year. He’s now nearly as quick and agile as I am, but he’s 6’2″, 270lbs.

        Obviously that system helped him and encouraged him to succeed.

        Year after he graduated, they abolished it and went back to random classes, again allowing the better athletes to whup up on the crappier/uninterested kids.

        So lame. That system rocked.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think a system like that might offer encouragement, but lessening the “oh, you’re part of the fat kids group, get outta here fatty” is what I’m after.

          I’m not wanting kids to embrace their chubbiness more so then to accept it, understand the risks, and make a positive change on their own to live a healthier lifestyle at a young age, so it becomes habitual, and it is passed on to later generations.

  2. Jrhadlock says:

    Personally, I get the boy out with me on activities – hiking, biking, swimming, hoops, football, soccer, sledding, skiing, whatever. If parents would instill a love of the outdoors in their kids. There would be no fat kids (and a lot fewer fat adults too). Remember when we were kids? Man, I was outside playing all day every day and I loved it!

    • Anonymous says:

      It was funny last night – I needed to go stop by the convenience store around the corner, but instead of driving there, I asked Dom, “Do you just want to walk over there?”. He was all about it, then we got outside and it was a bit chilly. I told him, “let’s jog over there to warm ourselves up” – we jogged both ways, and on the way back he was getting tired, and I told him to “push through it”. He jogged the whole way back home. :-)

      I really haven’t been the “model of fitness” to him up until a few months ago. It was always easier to just play video games/etc, but lately, I’ve been trying to change that for the better, and he can’t get enough of it.

  3. It’s hard for me cause I’ve never been fat … i’m just slowly gaining a little pudger around the waist area as I get older and less active. but…

    When I was a kid we actually did physical stuff in gym class. I played sports all my life… like I can’t ever remember NOT playing baseball or soccer when I was a lil’ pup and that grew into those plus volleyball and basketball through playing 3 varsity sports and then college ball and it kind of tailed off after that with life and work. But then I got into marathons and mountain biking and trail running… and then I started my own internet company and poof… lazy. :/ lol but anyways.

    So I always had sports… I really didn’t know what else to do… I always played sports… everything, even to this day is a competition to me – pisses some ppl off but at the same time it’s just part of who I am and kids these days don’t have that. It’s based on who got the higher score on a video game. In schools they cut gym class out, don’t play sports cause our poor little babies might stub a toe and get hurt or ZOMFG might bleeed a bit…

    Computer and office drones are lazy and it just translates to kids as parents have no energy / desire to go outside and play with their kids… it’s easy to sit them in front of the tv (babysitter) and let it go… All these kids these days start off in the lazy stage… I never had that… I wasn’t even allowed in the house until dinner time lol… “go outside and play with your brother”… I just always did it. If I grew up with PS3’s and WoW… who knows… ?

  4. Missy says:

    I watched the episode of Marci last night.. amazing!!! 90 pounds in 90 days! What an awesome show!

  5. The following link is what I was trying to tell you about the other night after the azphp meeting with Senhor Dweebo insisting on overtalking me:

    http://www.amarketplaceofideas.com/the-anti-inflammatory-diet.htm

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