The summer of 2013 I was a part of a team created by Omari Dyson entitled, the Initiatives to Combat Obesity Now. Omari Dyson is a certified physical and group trainer. He started the program to help kids in the community with losing weight and eating a good diet.
Dyson strengthened his team by bringing in a health education specialist, Mr. Dwight Varnum, to teach the kids the importance of eating right, understanding calories, and the benefits and disadvantages of the type of foods they were eating. To focus on the fitness area of the program Dyson recruited Mrs. Anne-Marie Wofle, who is a rhythmic and aerobic instructor.
The kids would participate Monday through Friday at the YMCA in Orangeburg, South Carolina, taking nutritional and exercising classes. The program was from June 1, 2013, until July 31, 2013, and focused on children from the ages of four through sixteen.
Despite the number of programs like I.C.O.N., there are still a large number of children that are obese. Even with the help of programs like Let’s Move, started by First Lady, Michelle Obama, or NFL Play 60 by the National Football League. There are 12.7 million adolescent and children who are obese in the United States as of 2012. Statistics shows most of the children who are obese come from families with less education and who are in poverty.
In today’s world, fast food companies spend over four billion dollars in advertising to get teenagers and children to buy their foods. Fast food is cheaper, but it contains a lot of ingredients that are not healthy for children to eat. Even the healthiest of the foods such as salads have chemicals in it to make the lettuce crisp. One chemical is the propylene glycol, which can also be found in sexual lubricants and antifreeze.
Eggs are supposed to be healthy and full of protein, but in fast food restaurants that is not the case. According to the Huffington Post, “Some things that are in this special blend include glycerin, a solvent found in soap and shaving cream, dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone that can also be found in Silly Putty, and calcium silicate, a sealant used on roofs and concrete.”
Therefore, programs such as Initiatives to Combat Obesity Now are needed to educate the youth about the risk factors of unhealthy eating. Unfortunately, the I.C.O.N. program ended after one summer because it was funded by a grant from 1890 Summer Excellence Research Opportunity Grant through South Carolina State University. Hopefully, there will be more programs created like I.C.O.N. to educate our youth in the United States.