Vol. 17, No. 42, April 18, 2005
IN THIS ISSUE:
This Reveille Home Page | The Friday Program: Activate America Highlighting the Nations Lifestyle Crisis | Eastside YMCA Report | We Get Emails | Painting Party Set | Friday Potpourri | CHPs Begin Clean-Up Duty | McCaulley Sets Out on New Vocational Adventure | District Leadership Assembly | Newell In Iraq | Web Fun
The Friday Program:
The BBRC was privileged to hear from the President/CEO of the Greater Seattle YMCA, Neal Nicoll Friday morning. Neal told his audience that 185,000 people are served annually by his organization and it is supported by 13,000 donors. Over the years, the Seattle YMCA has been noted for program innovation. For instance, Earth Service Corps was founded through the YMCA in Seattle. Neal also noted that hes got two daughters getting married this summer ... I see my retirement retreating over the horizon!
The YMCA of Greater Seattle is a large human service organization. We conduct learn to swim classes, day camp, etc. We have a broad array of programs and several are not in the public profile of what we do. For instance, we care very much about at-risk youth. We provide a shelter for 15-20 homeless kids who sleep there, shower there and get a meal. These are kids whove dropped out of school and do not have the financial means for a roof over their head. In such transitions, including foster childrens programs, the fact is when you reach 18 years of age, youre cut loose. A fact we shouldnt ignore is that 65% of college grads move home to their parents before they find themselves and move on. Neal said that five foster kids are living in rented facilities available for them while they finish their education. We dont care who you are and where you come from. All we care about is where you want to go.
After these brief comments about YMCA programs Mr. Nicoll switched gears to tell the BBRC about a project that is obviously near and dear to his heart. Its called Activate America, a national effort that gives a glimpse at Americas lifestyle health crisis. In cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control, the YMCA recognizes that this situation represents a crisis for our country.
His PowerPoint visual showed a dramatic graphic of the advancement of obesity in country since 1986. From that first year, the graphic charts the ever-expanding march of obesity across our land. Starting with a few blue states down the mid-section of the U.S., the current 2004 map shows a disturbing trend the rise of obesity in children and adults to where over 25% of the population can be labeled Obese. More than half of the U.S. population is overweight. But being obese is different from being overweight. An individual is considered obese when weight is 20% (25% in women) or more over the maximum desirable for their height. When an adult is more than 100 pounds overweight, it is considered morbid obesity.
Nicoll pointed out statistics for overweight children and teens. The incidence of Type II Diabetes has increased at an alarming rate with 12-14% of children now diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Incidence of kidney disease, glaucoma, and heart disease are becoming more prevalent. The thing that will overwhelm the health care system is obesity. We cannot sustain our system when 20% of our population in afflicted with a major disease.
Nicoll gave a quick quiz about eating habits. The quiz revealed that French fries lead the menu as the number one item served at fast-food restaurants. In 1957, the average calories from a fast-food hamburger was 300. Today, the average is 618 calories. For the first time in history, life expectancy of the next generation will be shorter than their parents. What is not readily known is an epidemic exists among African American children with diabetes. Diabetes will double in 20 years. Kids watch an average of two hours each day of TV, leading to a sedentary generation. Americas population consumes 75% of the prescription drugs in the world. Enough for the quiz.
Activate Americas mission is that its imperative to help Americans find healthier ways to live. We must improve the health and wellness of Americans, says Nicoll. We will employ a holistic approach, we will embrace collaboration with all sorts of organizations, and we will develop parallel operational and public policy strategies to get at the problem. We will target children and youth to change their lifestyle habits.
The challenge for the country is statistics showing committed adult exercisers remains unchanged at 15%. Over half of the population has started and stopped diets, spending $30 billion annually on repeated failed attempts to improve their health.
Our main target is health seekers people who tend to try to change their lifestyle on their own, says Neal. The YMCA has a major impact as an organization. We have a higher calling. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? The trends toward obesity are literally scary. In answer to a question, Nicoll agreed that food manufacturers are part of the problem, but only a part. Sedentary habits of many Americans are a major problem.
The YMCA is working to expand its facilities with new branches in South Bellevue as well as the new city of Sammamish, which has the largest youth population of any city in state. In answer to another question, Nicoll stated that the Y is laying plans to collaborate with Bellevue Public Schools, Overlake Hospital Medical Center, the City of Bellevue Recreation Department, and King County Health to address the issue of youth health.
For his presentation, Neal Nicoll received a certificate noting that 1,220 pound of fresh foods have been donated in his name through Rotary First Harvest to area food banks. Thanks to Scott Sadler for his introduction.
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