Shaq’s Big Challenge is a movement to eliminate childhood obesity through schools in the state of Florida. The program focuses on changing the eating habits and exercise regime of overweight teens. The show is an inspiration to viewers of all ages and of all weights. The show is a much needed view into the reality of this generation of young people. The facts cannot be ignored:
Fast Food is becoming more and more common in U.S. culture. Most of the food offered in schools (both lunches and snacks available) are closer to fast food than real, healthy options. When you combine this with most parents getting quick, unhealthy meals for dinner. Whether it’s pizza, burgers or fried chicken, the children are not getting the nutrition they need, but are getting tons of excess calories on a daily basis. A good, solid breakfast is not common for the kids. Whether the resources aren’t available or they don’t know that a single bowl of sugar cereal won’t fuel the body until lunch, a child must be educated and given the opportunity to do the right thing. Today’s society has become a “have it now” affair where sit down meals filled with nutrition are very uncommon.
Exercise is not a regular part of kids’ lives. Kids play video games, watch TV and surf the internet with their free time. Even 20 years ago, it was common for kids to play outside a majority of the time with other kids in the neighbor. Whether it was football, basketball or even tag, kids were getting activity and exercise. That was also a time when families had sit down dinners, instead of ordering out or bringing a pizza home from work. Inactivity in America’s youth will continue until we break the pattern. Shaq’s Challenge shows that kids are motivated to success, be active and feel good about themselves if you give them the resources. The show has given these six kids the facilities (exercise equipment and the specific activities), the staff (trainers, nutritionist, etc.) and the motivation to succeed. The results speak for themselves. Within a year, a kid can be turned around from obese to a healthy, active person on the path to success.
These six kids show that a lifestyle change that can be continued long-term will change your body shape and self-confidence. These children were socially-isolated and putting themselves into a shell because of the teasing from peers and their lack of self-esteem. Through exercise and losing the weight, they have gained confidence and adapted a new lifestyle. These are obese and morbidly-obese cases. Anyone looking to lose a few pounds or just adopt a more healthy lifestyle can look up to these kids. They took a leap of faith to change themselves and lose weight on national television in order to change their lives. If the average person devoted half of the energy and dedication of these kids, the country would be on its way to improving our overall level of health and fitness.