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As the new president, can Obama thwart the US obesity epidemic?

Thursday, November 06, 2008 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD
In short, I doubt so. I pose this question more in jest than seriousness based on a magazine cover I saw last night in the check-out counter at the local grocery store.

While I have become conditioned to seeing the face of Obama Barack on the cover of most of the Time magazines I get in the mail, seeing him on the cover of this month’s Men’s Health was a bit of a surprise. Apparently, this periodical considers Obama one of the top 20 Heroes of Health and Fitness – along with Lance Armstrong, Tiger Woods, and others. Back in May of this year, Men’s Fitness Magazine had also declared Obama among the 25 most fit men in America.

According to the recent article (which you can read in full here) Obama exercises for 45 minutes on six days of the week, thus even exceeding the Surgeon General’s recommended level of physical activity (30 minutes at a moderate intensity on most days of the week). Although he alternates doing cardio and weight lifting – the perfect prescription for fighting off the sarcopenic obesity that develops as we age – Obama’s main mode of physical activity is basketball, what he considers his “first love.” (Click here to watch an interview with Obama centered on physical activity as well as clips of him playing a game of pick up b-ball).

‘Slick Willy’ Clinton taught us how to play the sax and get the ladies. W. introduced a slew of new vocab and taught us how to clear bush around the farm. And while Obama is unlikely to single-handedly thwart the US obesity epidemic, leading by example will hopefully motivate the majority of the population, which is currently sedentary, to follow their political leader and play a game of pick-up.

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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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