Because of their weight, these children couldn't run, jump, and play. Some had become loners, others bullies, others simply withdrew into themselves and begged on a daily basis to not be noticed.
I was shocked to find that physical education had been removed from the school curriculum in many states. With the arts gone and now physical education, is it any wonder that this generation faces the greatest crisis America has seen. If our future, these children, cannot even get out of their chairs, how are they to lead a nation into a bright, new future?
Over the course of the show, these children struggled to overcome their greatest obstacles, weight and attitude. But they did it. Shaq and his team worked in six areas: lose weight, eat healthy foods, get active and fit, change unhealthy habits, gain confidence and achieve success.
There were so many tears and discouraged hearts, and yet in the finale show these children ran down the track to the cheers of Broward County, Florida citizens. They'd lost astonishing amounts of weight. Their eyes sparkled, smiles spread across their faces and they were literally beaming. I actually became a little choked up.
Now Shaq has created an online challenge called, Shaq's Big Family Challenge. It's a marvelous program to help families as a whole become healthy and active again. When I drive the streets of my city I see so much obesity around me. It is astonishing! My husband and I also have some work to do in that area and we have been given the impetus, through this show, to begin working out 3 to 4 times a week like we used to do before he became ill.
But here's the thing. Shaq, his team and these children changed the course of education of physical health and cafeteria meals in the state of Florida. But who's doing it in your state?
To Governor John Huntsman, the governor of my state, what are we doing in Utah to stem the rising tide of obesity in our children? To the athletes of the NBA, NFL, NHL and all other professional athletic organizations, when will you pick up Shaq's torch and give back to the children of this nation in ways that will make shocking differences? To the school boards and districts, what will you do to make the changes so desperately needed in your programs? To the parents -- when will you step back from this fast food lifestyle we now live and begin making the effort to cook at home and encourage yourselves, as a family, to become healthy and active? To the children, you hold your future in your hands. There is no one and nothing stopping you from standing up right now and saying, enough is enough.
We either take a stand now or kiss this nation goodbye. Do we love our children or not? Do we love our spouses or not? Do we love our parents or not? Do we love our brothers and sisters or not? Do we love ourselves or not?
Time to stand up and make a difference. This is one that will take nothing but willpower and follow through and will save your life. You can do it! I have complete faith in you.