The Battle Against Childrens Obesity is On

by : Christina Zika

New studies are in the news practically every day: childhood obesity is on the rise and the percentage of children ages 6-19 affected by this condition has tripled since 1980. That translates to roughly 9 million kids who are at risk for Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke and even some forms of cancer - all this from preventable, weight-related issues.

Supersized junk meals are not the only cause for the increasing weight. Kids today are not as active as they were a generation or two past. Their attention is drawn to sedentary hobbies such as computers, video games, and television as never before-and this is beginning to seriously affect their emotional and physical health. As the weight piles on, so does the shame and low self-esteem-and thus begins a vicious cycle that can sadly last a lifetime.

Adolescent fitness coach Mike Hope ( so many situations where the overweight kids tried to melt into invisibility instead of participate in a team sport, that he decided to do something about it. "Schools and camps would often invite me to teach special martial arts or dance classes and it was really sad to see kids wanting to take part, but so afraid of being made fun of that they preferred to sit out the session."

Inspired by the exercise videos that work so well for adults who can't get to the gym, Hope produced several interactive videos that teach kids the basics of martial arts and break dancing. These videos not only help burn calories, but also get kids into a routine that gets them off the couch and moving. "It's a terrific feeling," Hope says, "when I get a letter from a parent telling me that the video helped their child lose weight." And many kids who outgrew the videos (you know what attention span is today) went on to other physical activities to keep themselves active.

"It's like Flintstone vitamin," adds Hope. "Kids don't necessarily need to know that it's good for them. Yet parents get the satisfaction of knowing they are getting fit, having fun and building their confidence level."