By Andrew Porter
According to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, one third of children and adolescents were overweight and obese. 33%. Let that number sink in.
That means that 33% of Americans are setting themselves up at a young age to have higher blood pressure, a greater risk for diabetes, and ultimately even cancer. Is that large fry really worth it? Does anyone even care about our future generation being overweight? FAYO does.
FAYO, which stands for Fight Against Youth Obesity, is a new organization on campus at UGA. FAYO’s goal is to raise awareness about obesity and to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for children everywhere.
“We are just trying to get kids more interested in being healthy and active,” third year student Mahelate Theodros said. “We want them to be aware of what they put in their bodies, because you really are what you eat.”
FAYO aims to work with local schools and youth by teaching kids about different food choices, and by exposing children to different games and exercises to increase activity. FAYO currently works with the Boys and Girls Club and Thomas Lay afterschool program. During the time with students, FAYO members have two groups: one in the nutritional area and one in the active area.
“We try to find fun and interactive ways for kids to be engaged and healthy while having a good time”, Theodros said.
FAYO has already begun making a difference in the Athens community and plans to do even more this year. President Darius Sanford spoke about FAYO’s plans for this year and they included a 5K walk with housing, the increasing of service sites for kids, and lastly a community garden project.
“Our goal is to establish 4 to 6 community gardens in Athens,” Sanford said. “We want to engage the kids in this, because studies show that kids who are involved in community gardens are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables.”
FAYO has a bright future and is currently looking for members to join the ranks. Obesity isn’t going anywhere and neither is FAYO. Several factors contribute to obesity. One such factor is money. It is much easier to feed a child McDonalds than to buy a healthy, nutritious meal.
The FAYO executive board is looking for more people to mentor and be there for the children. With the help of students on campus, FAYO could become something really special.
“It is so cool to be able to say I played a role in developing something that can have a big impact on the community, Sanford said. “That is what I want people to realize when they consider becoming a FAYO member; that you will not only be able to make a difference, but be a catalyst for change.”
To get updates on FAYO, be sure to follow @UGA_FAYO on Twitter, and be sure to come out to the first general body meeting TONIGHT at 7:00 PM in MLC 207.