Teen Tackles Childhood Obesity

Recently, Angela had the opportunity to attend the National Summit of Childhood Obesity. Angela, age seventeen, is a leader at the Boys and Girls Club in Nevada and has been part of the organization for four years. She is in the Triple Play Sports Leadership Club, the Keystone Club and she works as a leader in training. Spending most of her time at the club, Angela was eager to learn more about kids, and what better way than to learn about healthy eating habits and exercise than at the Childhood Obesity Summit. Latinitas was able to ask her about her time spent at the summit, her leadership role in the Boys and Girls Club, what she learned and how she is tackling the issue of childhood obesity.

Why is the issue of childhood obesity important?

Children are eating unhealthy as kids. They get lazy and maintain unhealthy body weights. It makes it harder for them when they grow up as adults if they stay that way. Being overweight can give them problems like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Why is this an issue that you care about?

I don’t want kids to grow up unhealthy and have medical problems. It doesn’t just affect the person but their whole family.

How does the issue of obesity impact the Latino community?

I’ve seen how Latino foods are prepared and they are not very healthy. Cooking foods in grease is bad for your arteries. I want to see the Latino community try to change the way they make food. Instead of using so much fat to make the food Latinos can use wheat tortillas for some dishes.

What advice would you like to share with other young Latinas?

Eat healthy now instead of later, because if you don’t eat healthy you will grow up with diabetes and high blood pressure and you will have problems to worry about like  heart attacks or even stroke. Learn to make changes when it comes to making food choices. Eat more veggies with your food. Also, being more active is always good. I do activities at the Club when we go to the gym and weight room. It is part of our Triple Play activities along with building good relationships with people.

What action can community members take to help with the issue of obesity? 

They can feed their child healthier food. They need to figure out that it’s ok to make some changes. Tell them to go outside for an hour a day or even two hours. Walks are good and easy. All you have to do is go out the door. My family likes to go on walks together. We also enjoy spending quality family time together.

What are your plans for launching an obesity related program in your community?

Our program is a walking program that we will be running at all our youth sites for 12 weeks. Teens from the Triple Play Leadership Clubs are going to be trained to go out to the sites and teach the younger Club members about being active, eating healthy, and making the choice to stay that way. We are calling it the FOOTie Movement and it’s going to be fun for all of us. We chose walking because it’s one of the easiest ways to be active and maybe eventually we can turn it into a running club. Not only does it help us, but we are trying to help other people too.

Tell us about your experience at the Triple Play Leadership Summit. 

It was good because I loved every part of the Triple Play Leadership Summit. I got to make friends with other Club kids from all over the country. I liked a lot of the guest speakers and we learned about community service and being leaders. I really loved the night time activities, including the part when we got to do one of the workouts with a boxer, Marlen Esperanza, and the hike to the Garden of the Gods. It was pretty there. We also learned more on how to include the three Triple Play ideas into everything we do. How can we become more active, what kind of food choices are we making and how can we continue to have positive relationships with people. We also talked about how we can take what we learned and bring that back to help other people get healthier in our community – like the walking program we are doing in Reno .

How did you become a part of the summit?

I did a lot of community service hours with the Triple Play Sports Leadership Club. We volunteered at events like the Reno Marathon, Run Amuck, Reno-Tahoe Open and Kidzone at UNR football games. The Sports club even put together a dodge ball tournament for the teens over Spring break to help get kids active and keep them busy.

Who was your favorite speaker in the summit? 

The boxer, Marlen Esperanza. She was telling us how to be healthy in life and how to find the one thing we are passionate about. When we find it, it will help us create a life with no regrets because we are passionate about what we do.

 

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