Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Teen Athletes Eating Right

On numerous occasions each year, I rant about the importance of healthy eating, especially during the teenage years. From the pizza and cookies for lunch to the random snacks of donuts and chips to the way students sit casually sipping a sugar-filled Powerade, too many young people eat for crap these days. In fact, they are eating crap these days. And there is no doubt these habits will have negative long term repercussions on their health. Yet, the prevalence of low-quality processed foods is ubiquitous, and despite my rants and a semester in health class, students aren't really getting the education they need.

However, there is hope. And a recent local news feature gives my hope that my rant just might be making an impact. The fitness section of the Denver Post spotlights two local teen athletes who have seen the light. These two young men battled weight problems for years until they made the decision to beat the battle of the bulge. One of the students was a freshman in my Honors English class four years ago - and I was shocked when he came to see me last fall at the start of his senior year. He'd lost fifty pounds and was the captain of his varsity basketball team - one of the top programs in the state.

This story is great news, and it's exactly the type of story we need about young people. Yet, I worry about opposition to health information. Despite the best of intentions, the First Lady Michelle Obama has been targeted with endless criticism for attempting to promote healthier foods in schools. Certainly, it's mainly political - though it's veiled in the guise as an "assault on freedom." That, by the way, is patently ridiculous. And, hopefully more schools and kids and parents will begin to pursue healthier choices.

High fives to these young men for being an inspiration to us all.

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