Daniel Muller, 17, of Weston, Connecticut, along with 20 other outstanding young people, has been selected to serve on the 2012-2013 Youth Advisory Board for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation. Daniel is entering his second year of service on the Board.
There are many reasons why my generation should be passionate about the fight against childhood obesity. More than one in three adults is obese, meaning that the older generation is not setting a fantastic example. However, my generation is becoming more and more unhealthy. According to data from 2010, one in six children is obese. My generation may become the fattest generation ever and the first to have a shorter average lifespan than its preceding generation. It’s our job to ensure that this does not happen because if we do not actively seize command of this overwhelming situation soon, we may never.
This is merely factual, anyone could give this statement as a reason for passion and work. For me, the issue is personal. I would never say that I’m skinny. Frankly, I’m not. I have physicals annually and the doctor has told me almost every time that I need to watch what I’m eating and exercise more. I’m certainly not obese, but I’m tired of being told that I should lose ten pounds. The messages from my doctor really hit home for me when I learned of my family’s history of heart disease. Obesity is known to directly cause heart disease, cancer, sleep disorders, respiratory problems, and diabetes. I would love to stay healthy, because staying healthy reduces my own risk of disease and allows me to live a long, happy life free of a preventable disease. I also know that there are millions of other children in the US in my situation, possibly unaware of their family histories. If the childhood obesity numbers can be lowered, I guarantee that in the future, the number of obesity-related diseases will decrease as well.
The Youth Advisory Board has helped me advocate a healthy lifestyle. I taught a class of kindergarteners about maintaining healthy lifestyles, and the ones who I now babysit often eat so much fruit at dinner that I’m frequently astounded. I distributed information at our local Relay for Life (sponsored by the American Cancer Society) about preventing obesity, and I still see the water bottles I distributed being used in school. The Youth Advisory Board is comprised of people just like me; these youth are dedicated, passionate, and have a genuine sense of care for our generation. I often look to their example as I try to educate people in my community. This group of 21 amazing and inspiring youth is leading the way for our generation and I am honored to be counted as one of them.