Preventing Childhood Obesity and Diabetes
through Education and Life Transforming Habits

In a time where fast food has taken the place of a healthy, home-cooked meal and television consumption and video games have replaced exercise, childhood obesity and diabetes have become growing epidemics within the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), "The prevalence of overweight children aged 6 to 11 more than doubled in the past 20 years." Amongst ethnic populations such as African-American, Hispanic, and Native Americans it is a serious public health issue because obesity is associated with other diseases such as diabetes which is the leading killer in these populations. The CDC conducted the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and found that in "2003-2004, 17.1% of children and adolescents 2-19 years of age were overweight."

Currently, the U.S. spends billions of dollars on obesity-related issues, and diabetes is being deemed one of the most expensive diseases to care for by Forbes Magazine. If this issue is not addressed, physiological, sociological, psychological, and financial implications will gravely affect our nation. With the increased risks of developing diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, hypertension, and even cancer, we will face a generation of young people who grow up to be the most unhealthy generation in history.

Although obesity seems to be a complex issue which involves many factors including genetics, lifestyle and environment, there are many ways in which our society can create some resolution to the epidemic. The Preventing Childhood Obesity and Diabetes through Education and Life Transforming Habits platform is a simplistic approach in using the mind, body, and temple concept which will help to address one’s need to take personal responsibility for their health despite limiting factors. It will allow for a movement that goes beyond awareness to one that provides an intervention to help children make adjustments to any attitudes that can lead to unhealthy living. Teaching children that they can take charge of their health by making responsible choices concerning the types of food that they eat and incorporating exercise into their lifestyles will be paramount in this initiative.

The mind is a powerful tool, and with it children can learn to make the decision to live a healthy lifestyle. As a follow-up to transforming the mindsets of children, each child will learn to understand the body’s function and how proper nutrition and exercise plays an integral role to better health. It is intended that this will get the children moving and eating healthy food. Also, there is a need to improve the child’s a sense of love for themselves which will inspire them to treat their bodies like temples and avoid an unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore, building the child’s self-esteem is the final component of the platform and will assure that the other two components will create a lasting change.

As Miss Black Florida USA 2008, I plan to implement my platform by teaching children and parents through various community forums with a simplistic message that will empower them to be proactive in decreasing obesity and diabetes in children.

Eunice N. Cofie

Your Miss Black Florida USA 2008

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