Patrick Binder - Yankton, South Dakota

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Patrick Binder is 16 years old and is from Yankton, South Dakota. He attends Yankton High School where he is involved in track, cross country, debate, and extemporaneous speaking. Although he is new to compete in these events, he has already won awards for running and public speaking which showed him that anyone can make changes to become healthier and he was in a good position to start telling others.

Patrick is interested in politics and involved in student council. He ran for student council president and, although he didn’t win, feels like the experience gave him invaluable interpersonal skills.

Patrick has only recently become interested in the topic of childhood obesity. During his 8th grade year, he realized that his health was not heading in the right direction. He joined track, and started making healthier decisions. Patrick believes that he can use this example to show people that anything is possible, especially becoming a healthier person.

What motivated you to join the Youth Advisory Board?

I wanted to join the Youth Advisory board for the sole reason to help others. I believe that the Board is a great tool that can help me share my story, and help others overcome the same challenges I overcame. I believe that anything is possible with a little dedication.

If you could tell a peer one thing they can do for a healthier life, what would it be?

My advice would be to actively exercise. You need to have a daily exercise routine in order to live a healthy lifestyle.

What barriers do youth face when trying to live a healthy lifestyle?

I believe the greatest barriers the youth face today is that we have been raised on soda and chips. We have been brought up to think that we can eat whatever we want and there will be no repercussions later in life. The best time to begin a healthy lifestyle is in your youth when you are young and energetic.

Why is it important that youth have a voice in the fight against childhood obesity?

The youth need a voice in the fight because they can relate to their peers. I went through a lot to transform myself into a healthier person, and people who are my age can relate to the same struggles I faced.

What difference do you hope to make during your time on the Youth Advisory Board?

I hope that I can make a difference in others’ lives by showing them that nothing is impossible. I went through many struggles on my journey to become a healthier person. You can achieve anything you are passionate enough about.