March 23, 2010 posted by

A Challenge For Childhood Obesity

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
500 pull-ups
500 push-ups
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.


  • Keeping it VERY real as usual. One of my past clients started an organazation called S'cool Food in Santa Barbara. I'm not sure if they've taken their campaign national or not. Might be worth taking a look into it.In Berkeley the Martin Luther King School does some pretty bad ass shit too. If I remember any other groups I'll let you know.

  • Do, thanks. I may go with a few local organizations if I think they're doing a better job. We'll see.As far as reality goes, this Ratso stuff is keeping my training at bay, and my sleep schedule (along with sleeping on the couch) is killing my back, so I've got a long way to go, fitness wise. But my base fitness is good. I think once I get sleeping better I'll be able to start ramping up on big days.

  • Great idea Steve. I think I better up my training too if I want to be of much help in support come November.That first paragraph is exactly what's happening in out house. Amber is cooking better stuff because we want Levi to eat better stuff. We know that we have to be the role models, so helping Levi is going to help us. Fortunately our best family time is when we get out together for a walk, hike or bike ride and we've got all the right stuff to take Levi with us on all of these.~R

  • Yeah, get training! You have a birthday en route that you could be training for, as well as a challenge you haven't put to bed yet.After eating in Europe last year Romney got so fed up with the quality of most restaurant foods that she started cooking, and she hates cooking. Already almost everything she makes is like the food we get at the best restaurants in town. It's crazy how easy it is to make food taste good using real ingredients instead of a bunch of processed crap. What I'd really like to find is an organization that's doing something about school food. There are not a lot of schools, as Micah said, doing great stuff on their own but we need a movement, as I'm sure you can attest to being a teacher.

  • I have a small group of young girls in my church that will be meeting tonight to discuss nutrition. I will be helping them plan a nutritious meal, helping them to figure out how to read labels on food, and how (when, and hopefully IF the need it) to lose weight the RIGHT way, without fad diets and drugs. In April, we begin the fitness part of their goals. They need to plan and carry out a fitness program for 30 days. I like the idea of having a "theme" and an exact goal like you've listed above! Childhood obesity is tragic!

  • Hey Steve – Check out this lady…she's doing amazing work in San Fran – if this could roll nationwide we'd be onto something. Thanks for taking on this challenge. Yell, if you need help. I'm in Las Vegas.

  • If you want to get involved with schools, definitely get in touch with s'cool food. Its financed by the Orfalea fund, and from what I've seen, they are very down to throw money and resources at this problem.

  • Challenge is postponed due to injury but still on the agenda for 2011. In fact, I think 11/11/11 is the start date.

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