Rutgers and Horizon Partnership Aims to Tackle Child Obesity
Shawn Arent, Director of the Rutgers Center for Health and Human Performance, talks with Steve Adubato about their partnership program with Horizon focusing on educating students about childhood obesity.
"We're pleased to welcome Dr. Shawn Arent, Director of the Rutgers Center for Health and Human Performance. Good to see you doctor. Thank you for having me. Talk to us about an issue you're very interested in, let's call it childhood fitness? Yeah. So you know, it's been interesting, because at Rutgers, as part of the Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health, there's a big childhood obesity focus. And while I think that's important, the other thing that we do within the Center for Health and Human Performance is realize that you might have 10 to 15% of adolescents that are considered overweight or obese, but that number grows to 65 and 70% overweight when you start to look at adults. So clearly, somewhere along the way, there's more and more and more and more. So what we've really tried to do is focus on the fitness aspects of the child, rather than just keying in on the obesity, you know. Because we're trying to stem the tide. And one of the things that I like to focus on is athleticism. You know. And I treat it like everybody's an athlete when we do it that way. Even if they're not in competitive athletics? Yeah. Because it's a skill set. You know, so athleticism isn't just about being an athlete. It's about having confidence in your movement patterns, it's about being able to perform different skills repetitively and with a degree of precision, and it makes us more functional in a lot of different environments. And what's really interesting though is, you know, about 72% of school-age children are involved in at least one organised sport. So from a sporting context in developing athleticism, you actually do target a majority of the population that way. Sure. But I think when you look at developing motor skills and functional capacity and things like that, you know, there's something to be said for treating all of us... You know, we were designed to move. You know, from an evolutionary, biological standpoint, we were designed to move. And I think we've managed to engineer that out of a lot of our daily stuff. And what we're trying to do is build it back in and make it valued, really from a health and performance standpoint. You have a partnership with Horizon? Yeah, with Horizon New Jersey Foundation. Describe it. So what we've done is we're actually going into a few schools around the New Brunswick area, and what we're doing is we're using an athlete-mentor model. And so what we're doing is using college athletes from Rutgers, as well as some of the professional athletes that we work with. And they're gonna go in and help deliver nutrition education, motor skill development, and work with..."