childhood obesity

Make Believe

"So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing." --1 Corinthians 9:26

Read: 1 Corinthians 9

As I was leaving Gio's Boxing Gym in Burbank (Calif.), amid the familiar cadence of speed bags and jump ropes, something a cornerman yelled to his boxer caught my attention. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter!" he said. I literally stopped in my tracks. What a powerful statement. Just how powerful, I'd realize just moments later.

Walking toward my truck, I came upon a film crew about to shoot a documentary -- a boxing documentary, no doubt. Lights, cameras and make-up. I stood for what seemed like years and watched a make-up artist applying shades of purple, black and blue to an actor's face and under his eyes. Boxing gloves? Check. Legitimate shorts? Those too. But he wasn't dressed for - nor returning from - a real battle. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter," ironically echoed in my head.

I wonder about my faith. And maybe you wonder about yours. Am I a make-believer in life? Or do I help make believers with my life? Like the verse above, I don't want to shadowbox. I want purpose. Give me somethin' to hit.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: In what area of your life, spiritually or physically, do you need to stand to fight? How can the Prayfit community pray for you? List your battles below or simply list them as "unspoken request(s)".


A CNN report recently called attention to the latest casualty in the childhood obesity epidemic: school furniture manufacturers. Because of the expanding waistlines of children -- a full 15 to 17% of all kids are over 95th percentile for obesity -- manufacturers are forced to develop desks that can accommodate them. Child car seat manufacturers are also having to adjust with new designs to keep heavier kids safe.

"Childhood obesity affects their safety in matters beyond child seats and ill-fitting school furniture," the report says. "Obese kids are more likely to get heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and are more prone to diabetes, bone and joint problems. Their health problems are also more likely to follow into adulthood."

>> For the full report from CNN, click here.

ACTION PLAN: Let's be part of the solution. Today, take stock of how much activity your children are getting each day, taking physical education at school and organized sports into account as well. Discuss the importance of regular activity with your child and make today the first day of a scheduled family “workout,” where you spend 15-20 minutes exercising, walking or playing together.


April 7, 2011Read: 1 Kings 10

"Indeed, not even half was told me..." --1 Kings 10:7

I'm likely giving away my age, but I grew up listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. Many of you might remember his opening line, "Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey. Stand by for news!" with added emphasis on "news." Others might recognize his classic closing salutation, "Paul Harvey...good day!"

But my favorite part of his legendary broadcast was a frame called, "The Rest of the Story," where we'd wait in wonder as he took us down a historical path on any number of subjects before finally unveiling the surprise at the end.

You know, our lives might be a lot like a Paul Harvey story. After all sorts of twists and turns, pitfalls and mountain tops, breakdowns and breakthroughs, God will unveil Heaven's surprise. And though we've read about streets of gold and those gates made of pearl, we will someday see just how badly words failed. And I like to think that maybe, just maybe, God will look at you and He'll look at me with tear-filled eyes and say, "And now you know, the rest of the story."


UNDERESTIMATED WEIGHT New study shows most moms and kids may not be in touch with the gravity of the problem

If you don't stand on a scale everyday, don't worry. While studies show that those who are dieting have a better chance of keeping on track if they weigh themselves regularly, there are a great many people that don't have the faintest clue how much they weigh. But Columbia University researchers found that most moms and kids who are overweight tend to underestimate their weight -- and each other's.

Just under two-thirds of the mothers were overweight or obese, as were nearly 40% of the children, who ranged in age from 7 to 13, according to the story, which appeared on CNN. The vast majority of the overweight people weighed more than they thought they did -- and the heavier they were, the more likely they were to underestimate their weight.

Eighty-two percent of the obese women underestimated their weight, compared with 43% of overweight and 13% of normal-weight women. Likewise, 86% of overweight or obese children failed to correctly estimate their weight, compared with just 15% of normal-weight children.

"In order to target the obesity epidemic, we need to improve perceptions of body weight and create healthy image goals," says the lead author of the study, Nicole E. Dumas, M.D., an internal medicine resident at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York. "But how do we change perceptions? That's the big question."

Source: CNN

>> COMING THIS FALL: The front line in the fight for healthier families starts in our homes. This fall, PrayFit will roll out its second print project, PrayFit Family, which provides 28 days of biblically-based devotions, healthy-living tips, recipes and other tools to help build stronger, more faithful families. More info coming soon!

>> ORDER: To order PrayFit's debut book, PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days (Regal Books), which contains two, 28-day, at-home exercise programs and meal plans, click here.

>> SHOP: Get outfitted with the latest PrayFit gear at our online store by clicking here.



November  9, 2010Read: Matthew 1

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means 'God with us.'"  --Matthew 1:23

No matter how old you might be, chances are you've experienced a few important "day befores." Turn back the clock and you might remember the day before you: graduated... got married... got promoted...

While all those days bring back a number of different memories for us, each moment has one common denominator: a new title.  The next day you were: a graduate... a wife... a boss... The day before, you were none of those.

Turn back the clock and we once knew God as Yahweh, Abba, The Great I AM, and the Alpha & Omega. But then one day God became: flesh... a baby... Immanuel...

Creation…meet creator. And once you meet Him, you'll never be the same again either. You can bet your soul you'll be different than you were...the day before.



It may sound like hyperbole, or a scare tactic concocted by those of us in the health industry who have taken a defensive posture against obesity. But it is worth noting that the fast food industry has ramped up its effort to attract more young people to its establishments.

"In 2009 preschoolers saw 56% more ads for Subway, 21% more ads for McDonald's and 9% more ads for Burger King, compared with 2007," the story says. "Children age 6 to 11 saw even more: 59% more ads for Subway, 26% more for McDonald's and 10% more for Burger King."

In addition, more of the available options for kids are -- surprise! -- unhealthy. French fries are served in kids' meals an astounding 86% of the time, for example.

"We should be clear that the fast food industry is not solely to blame for the rise in child obesity," says PrayFit editorial director and father of two Eric Velazquez. "Parents have to make a conscious effort to prepare more healthful meals at home and to help their kids make better choices when you are in the drive-thru. Of course, occasional indulgences are fine but making good choices as often as possible can go a long way toward instilling good habits reversing the trend of weight-related health issues in America."

>> Read the full story from the L.A. Times here: Fast food restaurants market too heavily to kids, says study