What Causes Childhood Obesity? – Part 48

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As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.

Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.

I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.

Keeping Kids Fit

Opinion: Ari Levy, MD

I think that a lack of accountability is at the heart of the childhood obesity epidemic. Parents need to take responsibility and help kids get active. Telling them to get off the couch isn’t enough—and you can’t assume the schools are handling our childrens’ health literacy. We used to be able to count more on our schools to make sure kids got time to run around and get active during the school day—unfortunately, that’s not the case these days. Budget cuts have impacted PE, and recent studies have found that kids simply aren’t moving enough. It’s on parents to fill that void and make physical activity a fun part of daily life. Parents need to make health and well-being a value and demonstrate that to their kids.

I think one thing that will make a long-term difference is education. Kids need to know how to eat well. They need to know how to set goals for their health. They need to want to get active. It comes down to having a champion dedicated to empowering kids with the knowledge and accountability to succeed.

– Ari Levy, MD, Co-CEO, Engaged Health Solutions

The Role Model In You – Ari Levy, MD, Co-CEO of Engaged Health Solutions

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Role Model

Ari Levy


As part of my new web series, The Role Model In You, here is my most recent interview. The Role Model In You series discusses how individuals were influenced as a child to lead a healthy lifestyle. It covers who influenced these individuals, the changes they made in their life to be healthy, and the message they would like to convey to the youth of today. Our guests include doctors, soccer stars, Super Bowl champions, NBA players, Olympic gold medalist, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and just regular people looking to share their story. I hope you enjoy it!

1. Your name, title, and age? What do you do (or did you do) for a living?

Ari Levy, MD, Co-CEO of Engaged Health Solutions, 33 years old. I’m a Dad first, husband, brother and son after…but for a day job I run Engaged Health Solutions, a Chicago-based start-up delivering working to educate and empower employee populations. I’m also a practicing internist at the University of Chicago and I focus on health and prevention .

2. Who was the person that inspired you as a child to eat healthy and stay fit? What was their relationship to you?

Actually being sick and out of control of my health as a child inspired me to take control of it when I was given the opportunity to do something about it. Once my own illness was under control, I became interested in health, fitness and – eventually – medicine.

3. What did they do to inspire you?

I can remember when I was a kid, looking in the mirror and seeing a short, fat kid looking back at me. It made me so upset because I felt like I was out of control; almost a victim to the disease and the consequences of the medication. I remember at that time, that experience of being out of control, having to take medicine and suffer the side-effects motivated me to make a conscientious effort to take control of my health if/when I was ever given the opportunity. My family and doctors supported me the through the whole journey.

4. How did their lesson change your life?

As I went into remission, health, fitness and nutrition became a huge part of my daily life. Additionally, my experience as a chronically sick child led to me wanting to become a doctor to try and help others.

5. Do you convey their message to kids in your life presently?

I’m a very new dad — but I plan to make health and fitness and fun part of my daughter’s daily life.

6. What would be your main message to children today to lead healthy lifestyles?

Have fun, be active and follow MyPlate.

7. Do you have a web site you would like to promote….web address only?

www.engagedhealthsolutions.com