I was going to raise money for Haiti during this year’s birthday challenge (in November) but have changed my mind and, instead, plan to target a much greater problem: childhood obesity. It’s not that Haiti doesn’t need help. They need more than most of us can imagine, and that was before the earthquake. But they are getting a lot more than I can provide and in my mind the most pressing issue facing the world is not poor countries. It’s not war, or terrorism, or disease. It’s simply that we’ve stopped using out bodies as we’re meant to. And it’s killing us. Fast.
This is not a problem that needs medical intervention. It doesn’t need drugs. It doesn’t need revolution, or even corporate or political agendas to change. It simple needs rudimentary education. In this video here you see school children who are unable to recognize vegetables. I extrapolate that the bar is set very low in an area where my expertise can be of service, a lot moreso than it can in Haiti.
On Medline, a governmental site for the National Library of Medicine, this is what they have to say about childhood obesity:
If a weight loss program is necessary, involve the whole family in healthy habits so your child doesn’t feel singled out. You can encourage healthy eating by serving more fruits and vegetables and buying fewer sodas and high-calorie, high-fat snack foods. Physical activity can also help your child overcome obesity or being overweight. Kids need about 60 minutes each day.
Not very alarming, is it? In fact, given that, statistically, it is probably the single most important issue facing the world I’d say they are purposely glossing over the issue. Not surprising given how much is at stake (or steak) for our corporate food giants should we decide to actually eat less and the influence that they have over the government.
But the simple fact is that there’s no hiding this one. We don’t need studies or statistics. All we need to do is look around at the mall. We are, as a society, fat and getting fatter. To change this is easy, but we need people spreading the word.
I’m looking for suggestions. I want a grass roots organization to team up with that is doing good work. In exchange I promise to come up with something epic to entertain you. My current thoughts are:
50 educational things done for childhood obesity (articles, seminars, appearances, etc) leading up to the challenge…
50 rock climbs at least 5.10 (about like climbing El Capitan twice)
50 boulder problem up to V5
500 kilometers of riding
50 kilometers of running
All done in 50 hours
Could I do this right now? Of course not. Not even close. But as the saying goes, it’s not birthday pretty hard. It’s birthday challenge.