H.O.O.D. (Hurdling Over Obesity and Diabetes) is the brainchild of Olympic hurdler Eric Thomas, whose mission in life is to help win the fight against childhood obesity and diabetes.
Childhood and adolescent obesity represents a significant health problem in the United States due to its rising prevalence and challenges in prevention and treatment. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) states this problem has more than tripled in adolescents since 1980. The significance of the rise in childhood obesity is reflected in its multiple health consequences, such as diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea.
The most recent survey reveals that nearly 20% of children from ages 6-19 years are obese. The rates are higher among certain ethnicities. In Texas, obesity rates among adults, adolescents, and children are more alarming. In 2007, almost 70% of Texas adults and more than 30% of Texas high-school aged children were overweight or obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control, obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, as well as social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem. Due to these statistics, the obesity problem has been termed a health epidemic. As such, communities play a major role in both its prevention as well as its management. There is a scarcity of community-based programs that help increase physical activity and improve nutrition among children and adolescents. Of the programs that exist, the accessibility and cost may limit participation among low-income families.
The Eric Thomas Foundation's mission is to improve the physical fitness and health of adolescents in underserved Texas communities, where access to fitness programs may be limited. In order to fulfill our mission, the Foundation is raising funds to implement programs that will provide: