Are You Ready for Some Weight-Loss?

The National Football League has joined the fight against childhood obesity. Recently giving 1.5 million dollars to fund the What Moves You program, designed to address the decline of physical education in schools. Karen Matthews of the Associated Press reports school children in Manhattan recently got quite the surprise visitor:
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning dropped by a Manhattan public school this week where he showed eighth-graders how to add some exercise to their math class. He had them perform squats, then count their own heart rates for 15 seconds and multiply by four to calculate their heartbeats per minute.
The program is pretty far reaching. According to Matthews 25,000 middle schools from all over the country will receive lesson plans intended to broaden students’ physical activity.

Clearly this program has good intentions, but the irony is that many NFL players—who are professional athletes—have a high risk of developing metabolic syndrome, according to a June 5th article in HealthDay News. Reporter Steven Reinberg described metabolic syndrome as the group of risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

For more on this issue read Weight-loss, Grief, and the Gridiron to learn why Philadelphia Eagles right guard Shawn Andrews decided to change his life around.
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Ron - October 19, 2006 7:06 PM

These NFL players are heros to young boys and teenagers, who try to emulate their overweight or obese bodies. Not only does the excess weight of the NFL players greatly increase their own risks, the fact that they are role models means that many boys greatly increase their risk of disease also.
The NFL should put weight limits on players for the players' own good and so that the NFL is seen as a health-promoting organization, not as a health-damaging one.
Rather than limiting the weight of their own players, the NFL has instead focused outside its own organization, trying to undo the damage they have done by promoting excess body weight as the male ideal and by promoting spectator sport, rather than sport participation.
The NFL needs to do more than just give money- it needs to get its players to keep their weight to a healthy level and promote playing sports, not just watching them.

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