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Childhood Obesity in El Paso

Our generation has blessed our children with a shorter life than what we will experience.
Our generation has given our children diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable diet-related
illnesses. These gifts are unacceptable, these gifts must be exchanged for an alternative. And as
scary has this all may sound there is hope and it is most certainly preventable. There are many
ways to keep our children safe but the most effective way that we can do this, is through
community engagement.
Our city sits on the border of 2 countries, these 2 countries happen to be the top 2 most
obese countries in the world. Mexico is number 1, while the United States is second in the world.
bound to have detrimental consequences for our community. Many businesses and non-profits
are now looking for ways to give back to our community and slowly helping us move from a city
that has an obesity rate of 28.6%, to one that will fall far more under the US national rate.
Local crossfit gyms and EP Fitness now have programs that cater to children. EP Fitness
has free fitness classes for the children of their members which include Zumba. Crossfit gyms
such as PUSH have fitness competitions but also take the time to engage with children and let
them have fun in exercise.

A new initiative named SHAPE (Students Helping Actively Participate in Exercise) is
engaging local schools and educating them on the benefits of physical fitness, nutrition, and the
stigmas of obesity. SHAPE is funded through State Farms Youth Advisory Board to not only
educate youth, but to help establish health clubs in local schools. High schools have recently
succumb to budget cuts and SHAPE took notice and now provide funding to these health clubs.
Health clubs serve a way of students to engage themselves in actively making healthy choices
and living healthy lives. A run is also in the planning stages for October 2014, in partnership
with the UTEP Wellness Program that invites college students and extends an invitation to our
citys local area high schools and youth.

The City of El Paso Parks and Recreation held its 32
annual Senior Games this years.
The senior games is way for adults ages 50 and over can compete competitively and remain
active. David Lopez is the Program Coordinator for the citys Senior Division Well-Fit Program.
His plans to help our community with obesity is to bridge the age gap between our youth and our
senior athletes. The Senior Games kicked-off their events on February 22 of this year and was in
high attendance of people from all ages, most notably youth. Seeing our senior athletes
participate has been a shock to some of our youth who have attended. Many feel inspired and
motivated to lead more active lifestyles. Many people are afraid of aging, but when high school
students witnessed an 85 year old man named Larry competing in a small marathon, it
encouraged them to stay active.

Having our children participate through community engagement is vital to curbing rising
obesity rates. When we give our children something to do and the opportunity to socialize and
have fun, we offer them more chances to never find out what it is to be obese. Regular physical
activity is a key component for weight-loss and in maintaining fitness (Blair & Church, 2004).
The resources to helping our children in our community our growing and as long as we utilize
them then the coming generation will be well-off and fit to live healthy lives.
Blair, S. N., & Church, T. S. (2004, September 8). The Fitness, Obesity, and Health Equation Is
physical activity the common denominator? Journal of the American Medical
Association, 292(10), 1232-1234.
State of Food and Agriculture Report. Rome.