You may recall earlier this year California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bill Clinton joined the American Heart Association in the launch of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an initiative to eliminate childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles among kids.
Well, on Tuesday, June 26, ABC premieres "Shaq's Big Challenge," starring NBA star Shaquille O'Neal in a reality show aimed at combating childhood obesity. According to the show's Web site, O'Neal will "help transform six obese middle school youngsters from Florida into healthy, fit kids - and along the way, demonstrate how other communities nationwide can help fight childhood obesity." The NBA All-Star will serve as the kids' coach and motivator, but they'll also work with Shaq's his own physician and trainer, as well as a nutritionist, a childhood obesity expert from Miami Children's Hospital, Food Network Chef Tyler Florence and Shaq's basketball coach from L.S.U., Dale Brown.
In an April 2006 survey conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 92 percent of all Americans consider childhood obesity to be a serious national problem. Interestingly, the same survey found that parents are less concerned about obesity in their own children:
- Only 41 percent of parents with children under age 18 were very concerned about their children being or becoming obese or seriously overweight.
Depending on how the show goes, we may need a second helping of "Shaq's Big Challenge." Let's hope everyone who tunes in does so after at least 30 minutes of running, jumping and exercising.