Obesity has been a large problem for the United States since the early sixties, and it seems the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting higher rates of obesity in Americans every year. Coming right behind Mexico as the second largest country; schools, groups and even First Lady Michelle Obama with her “Let’s Move” campaign have been creating and building means to reduce obesity. One of these groups in particular is fighting obesity from Los Angeles to New York by scooter.
As part of the YFilker Across America project, a group of college-aged athletes from Utah have been on the road taking a three-month ride across the map raising awareness and money in hopes to donate scooters to one thousand public schools with poor physical education programs across America.
Childhood obesity in the United States has been a growing factor in this country’s youth because it has nearly tripled over the last few decades. Roughly between 16 and 33 percent of children are overweight. Poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and family history of obesity contribute to this problem. Many of these children also suffer from health risks including high blood pressure.
The YFilker Across America project, founded by Waneska Valois, is attempting to bring awareness and help kids become more healthy. Valois will be traveling with her friends from Los Angeles to New York for over 3,800 miles on Y Filker self-propelled scooters. Their goal has been to ride 65 miles every day, making stops in cities like Salt Lake City, Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
Their last stop took place in Iowa, where so far they have received the most donations.
Valois took an interest in the issue of obesity by first introducing Y Filker scooters to children in physical education programs in California during “The Y Filker Scooter PE Program.” Having witnessed the children’s enthusiasm for the scooters, Valois also noted the disappointment the faculty faced with their lack of budgets, which made it difficult for them to afford more equipment for their schools.
Because of this, she took it upon herself to start raising money for schools everywhere to promote a fun and easy way of healthy exercise to combat childhood obesity.
Having started the initiative in the summer, the group has had to battle some hot temperatures on the road. But they insist that, while difficult, they’ve been thankful for the support from the children and adults they’ve met, and the dedicated teamwork the group has shown through it all.
As many school districts have put forth the effort to reduce childhood obesity themselves, such as banning sodas and junk foods from being sold, the good news is that the rise in obesity in the US has been slowing, possibly due to schools and groups bringing awareness, education and initiatives to the public eye.
As The Yfilker Across America group continues their campaign to fight obesity from Los Angeles to New York by scooter, the group is also looking to take their initiative to countries like Ireland and Brazil next to raise money for others schools. But first, they hope to reach their goal in combating childhood obesity in America by October in New York.
Written by Annie Elizabeth Martin