Candus Garcia/Staff Writer
Should children take a big bite of a shiny red apple or into a hot delicious slice of pepperoni pizza? Children today have difficulty with these decisions and in Corpus Christi there is a problem with childhood obesity.
Obesity is having too much body fat and depending on age, that body fat percentage changes.
Nueces County surveys of Corpus Christi resident showed that “over 23% of children are obese and 18.6% are overweight.” Authors of the survey have predicted that in “20 to 30 years the nation is looking at catastrophic consequences.”
Devin Agado, an eleven-year-old fourth grader at Sanders Elementary has become a part of this growing statistic. Devin weighs 148 pounds, which is about 15 pounds overweight.
In 2009, Corpus Christi received recognition as a Playful City USA community. The Playful City USA program, as explained on the city website, is “a program created by KaBOOM! the national non-profit that makes children communities healthier by creating great places to play.”
Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation officials began the program in 2009 by opening parks for the children.
Agado is not a part of this program but said he is attempting to lose weight the natural way by eating right and exercising. Agado said he is trying to lose weight, because of “the way I look to myself. I think I look ugly.” He has decided to change this look by using the parks provided by the city, attending the gym and eating healthy. “I want to be able to wear normal-sized clothes,” said Agado.
“I’ve not been eating fried chicken but baked chicken and broccoli and every now and then I eat carrots and salads and stuff, ” said Agado. “My favorite healthy food is salads.”
According to Jody Houston, director of CCISD Food Services, “The food we serve is healthy for all the children.” Houston said, “We must follow the guidelines and analyze our lunch menus.” Each CCISD school cafeteria provides students with breakfast, lunch and some snacks. “We average our food servings for the week based on the age and the grade level.”
Sharon Gutierrez, Agado’s mother, said, ”He will still eat stuff he likes, like chicken nuggets, but we put them in the oven instead of in the pan with oil and other stuff.” Gutierrez physically and mentally assists her son with his goal. She provides him transportation to his school activities and also takes him to the Corpus Christi Athletic Club.
Aside from healthy eating, Agado is very active in various school extracurricular activities such as his school’s Running and Tennis Clubs.
According to Agado, “We would run our backstops until our coach said stop and run the hills by our school.”
At the Athletic Club, Agado has a daily workout routine. “I go and run around the track about four times, then I go outside and play basketball and then I go back inside and lift weights. Every now and then I go swimming,” said Agado.
He wants to stay fit because when he grows up he wants to have different careers. “I want to be a motor cross racer, a skateboarder and a BMXer,” said Agado. His inspirations are Xtreme Sports professionals Tony Hawk, Matt Hawkman and Travis Pastrana.
He said he has been sticking with his goals for about two to three months. “I try to go to the gym every day. I go Monday through Thursday and try my hardest to go Friday, ” said Agado. “I am very proud of him, he actually keeps me motivated because of the determination I see in him,” said Gutierrez.
Agado said he wants to change these growing obesity statistics and has advice for all his peers: “Think of your favorite character, and if one day you want to be like them, don’t think you can’t be like that, because you can.”