Ringing in the new year means new campaigns for Houston’s Official “Fitness Czar” Samir Becic! With his focus on promoting health and fitness, Samir is no stranger to campaigning- in fact, he famously ran 7 marathons in 8 weeks wearing a 73.5 lbs weighted vest to promote awareness and lived for 6 weeks with a 300 lbs weighted suit to better understand obesity. Reaching national and international levels with his campaigns, he recently sent dedicated and signed books of his HarperCollins published “Resync Your Life” to U.S. political leaders in order to inspire them to continuously motivate Americans to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle.
But, health and fitness are not all he advocates for. A topic near and dear to his heart has always been children. One of his many passions includes helping combat the childhood obesity epidemic by giving kids the information and tools they need to stay healthy and active throughout their lives. With the continued rise of childhood obesity rates, it is pertinent for him to offer his assistance, knowledge, and expertise with implementing more physical activity programs. Previously, he reached out to all the 53 school districts within the City of Houston, Harris County, and greater Houston, now he’s reaching out to the 120 largest school districts in the state of Texas, and next, the 100 largest school districts nationwide.
With a variety of different factors that can contribute to obesity like poor diet, lack of physical activity, family factors, psychological factors, and socioeconomic factors, it is important to assess the problem as a whole and provide a space for children of all ages and backgrounds to learn about the importance of health and fitness. By continuously volunteering his time and efforts of youth fitness through speeches, seminars for school nutritionists, and many partnerships with organizations focused on childhood fitness and nutrition, Samir believes that with proper training and information, students will grow into the powerful young leaders of tomorrow while imparting the core values that our non-profit represents- health, fitness, life balance, perseverance, hard work, determination, and respect to their friends, families, and communities. Thus, Samir is sending a letter explaining the importance of childhood fitness to the Superintendents of the 120 largest Texas School Districts, and the 80 most prominent private schools in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.
Texas has an ongoing issue with combating obesity, therefore it is pertinent for the youth of Texas to learn the importance of health and fitness at a young age to be able to adopt these ideas in a developmental stage in order to lead a healthier lifestyle as they grow up. With sedentary living becoming more prevalent, educating children about keeping their bodies active and choosing healthy food options is something that must be done to flatten the curve of the rise of obesity. Not only is it important for their physical health, but also their cognitive, behavioral, and mental health. Here are some alarming facts about schoolchildren in Texas:
- In Texas, 20.3% of youth aged 10-17 deal with obesity (over 600,000 youth)
- Texas ranks 32 in overall prevalence with 34.2% of children being considered overweight or obese
- In Texas, data has found that obesity costs $10.5 billion in 2001, with that cost estimated to grow to $39 billion in 2040
- Data shows that 34.1% of low income children aged 2-5 were overweight or obese
- Only 59.9% of children aged 6-17 participate in 4 or more days of vigorous physical activity per week
- 16.4% of children aged 1-5 engaged in 4 or more hours of screen time per weekday
- 12.3% of children aged 6-17 engage in 4 or more hours of screen time per day (a rise since 2003)
- Childhood obesity costs $12,900 more in medical costs than a child with a normal weight