School: Cox High School
City, State: Virginia Beach, VA
Favorite Healthy Snack: Instead of drinking sugary drinks I am a huge fan of fruit infused water! More water and less sugar.
Song that Always Gets You Moving: There are so many! Anything that is upbeat and has a positive message.
What motivated you to join the Youth Advisory Board?
Having seen the effects of childhood obesity on my friends and siblings, the fight against childhood obesity really hit home for me. I did a lot of research on the causes of childhood obesity and I realized that soda and sugary drinks are a main culprit so I decided to do something about it by creating a healthy way for people to hydrate on the go. In pursuing this effort I had the opportunity to work with many local and national organizations in the fight against childhood obesity. When I learned about the Alliance for a Healthier Generation I knew that this would be a perfect place for me to make a difference and build on the experiences I already had. It is amazing to have a team that all share the same mission and are so passionate about fighting childhood obesity. No single idea is going to fix the issue. National efforts, like the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and local efforts, when taken together, can improve the lives of our children. It's time we all play a role in helping our children's generation overcome obesity – the Alliance makes this possible.
What barriers do youth face when trying to live a healthy lifestyle?
Unfortunately our youth face many barriers when trying to live a healthy lifestyle and it is a growing problem. Children are frequently confronted with sugary and less healthy foods and drinks at school, which makes it difficult to make a healthy choice. The advertising of less healthy foods and drinks makes them seem more desirable and is far more prominent than advertising for healthier foods, which is almost nonexistent. Exercise programs are a key component to staying healthy and these programs are often not available in schools or at home.
Why is it important that youth have a voice in the fight against childhood obesity?
It is our generation that is at risk and we are seeing the effects first hand. It is important to empower youth to take the lead as problem solvers in the fight against childhood obesity and have them work with educators and youth leaders to create and implement programs and positive changes aimed at helping fight childhood obesity.
What’s your greatest accomplishment so far in creating a healthier generation?
By far my greatest accomplishment has been the ability to reach out to so many children and let them know what a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating can look like and how it can make help them have a better future. I am continuously speaking to schools and having the opportunity to speak to the children one-on-one afterwards is very rewarding.
If you could make one healthy change in your school or community, what would it be?
One healthy change that I would make would be to have schools conduct physical education every day and remove soda machines from schools!