Physical Fitness

Before starting this entry, let’s look at a few statistics:

More than 9 million children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 years are considered overweight on the basis of being in the 95th percentile or higher of BMI values in the 2000 CDC growth chart for the United States. (NHANES [2003-2004], NCHS; JAMA. 2006;295:1549-1555.)

Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight adults. This increases to 80 percent if one or both parents are overweight or obese. (USDHHS; The Surgeon General’s Call To Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity. Overweight in children and Adolescents; http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity/calltoaction/fact_adolescents.htm)

I think these statistics hit a little bit close to home for me, as I was one of those overweight/obese children and grew into an overweight/obese adult.  I carried my weight relatively well, most people would say they had “no idea” I was as heavy as I was, now whether or not they were just being nice remains to be seen.

At my heaviest, I was 258lbs.  Not a shocking number, but on a non-athletic, 6’ frame, it was definitely considered obese.  My heaviest was heavy, but I had grown accustomed to this type of weight, if I remember correctly, I was 6’ and 225lbs. coming into my freshman year of high school.  Of course, I stopped growing vertically at that point and any new growth was going horizontal.  Here is a picture at my heaviest:

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I wish I knew at a younger age what a positive impact being healthier would have had.  While I don’t think I necessarily missed out on anything in high school or college, I think it would have been interesting to relive it in a more confident mindset.  There are too many kids out there that are content to sit inside and not see their neighborhood friends.  Parents are now worried about letting their kids go outside and play “Cops and robbers” and hide and seek, but keeping children from these activities only limits their ability to get exercise.

High school provides teenagers ample opportunities to get involved and become physically fit.  There are so many different sports teams that are available; every person should be able to find their place.  Natural athletic ability obviously helps, but determination and the willingness to try new things is equally important.

Outside of the benefits of being healthy and fit, there is an extreme dose of confidence boost.  If any of you have seen the movie “Angus” from about ten years ago, you will see what it’s like to be overweight and shy as a teen.  It’s not fun.  The ripple of confidence beginning in early adolesence only becomes a wave throughout the rest of your life.

I had an epiphany at age 23 that I didn’t want to be fat anymore.  I got dedicated and I got healthy, losing 70lbs. over the course of a year, got in Men’s Health, helped friends with their weight loss goals and have been so much happier.  If I had known I could’ve been this happy all that time, I would have lost the weight so much sooner.

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