By Ann Liguori
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The Humana Challenge, the PGA Tour stop formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, is taking place this week in LaQuinta, California. I’m happy this incredible golf tournament, which combines play with professionals and amateurs in three of the four days (previously in four of the five days), has locked in a sponsor for the next seven years. I’m not happy that Bob Hope’s name has been taken out of the title of the event since the Bob Hope Classic entertained the masses and donated millions upon millions of dollars to local charities for 51-straight years. And having spent last week in the desert, everyone I spoke to was unhappy about the omission of Bob Hope’s name as well.
But the Clinton Foundation is involved now and I do like the fact that the ‘theme’ of the week (in addition to the tournament) is focused on good nutrition and encouraging America to exercise! In fact, President Clinton was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s national health and well-being conference titled, “Health Matters; Activating Wellness in Every Generation.”
Educating young people about good nutrition and the importance of daily exercise is a message I’ve been preaching for a long time. When I created the Ann Liguori Foundation four years ago, we made it a priority to make sure we targeted funds to go toward educating young people about good nutrition and the importance of incorporating fitness into their daily lives. An organization we work with, ‘Healthy Children, Healthy Futures,’ does just that. And every year, Jill Jayne, billed as the rock star nutritionist, travels out to the East End of Long Island to perform her assemblies to educate middle school students who attend public schools on the East End. These assemblies are underwritten by the Ann Liguori Foundation. With lots of music and student participation, nutritional expert/musician Jill Jayne teaches hundreds of kids (and adults in the audience) what foods to stay away from and how to avoid being brain-washed from massive advertising campaigns which push unhealthy foods and drinks on America’s youth.
Here are several scary stats provided by The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention:
- Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.
- Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.
- About one third of U.S. Adults are obese (33.8%)
This past December, I had the opportunity to travel to Munich, Prague and Paris. Looking around, observing both the incredible sights and the thousands of people who gathered in each city to experience the Christmas markets and Holiday festivities, I definitely noticed that the majority of people in Europe looked average weight, not over-weight. In our country, seemingly more and more, it looks as if more people are struggling with obesity and weight issues.
So I’m all for nutrition education in our country with an emphasis on exercise!
Recognizing the need to address the high obesity rates and lack of physical activity among our nation’s children and their relationship to long term diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease is crucial! And the newly cemented connection between the PGA Tour and President Clinton, who has also championed this cause (as has First Lady Michelle Obama) is imperative for the health of our country!