News & Features » Street Talk (Old)

Fitness Foodie Targets Kids, Too

Fitness instructor and chef Herb Mesa cMesa is completing production on a closed-circuit television series called "Healthy Kids," which aims to teach adolescents about what foods to eat and which ones to avoid when watching their weight. In the series, Mesa appears a kind of hip epicure, demonstrating how healthy meals can be something that youths will actually eat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of overweight children and adolescents in the United States has nearly tripled in the last 20 years. Overweight and obese youth also are more likely to become overweight and obese adults, who carry with them serious health problems. The pattern is a costly one. It's estimated that the annual price of the nation's health care for problems associated with obesity is $117 billion.

School-based programs can increase physical activity and improve nutrition among students, the CDC research shows. Currently, fewer than 35 percent of students attend daily physical activity classes. The report recommends that schools encourage students to walk to school, participate in physical activities and join sports teams. Additionally, health advocates say that teaching youth about the benefits of eating healthy foods helps them develop and maintain healthy eating habits.

That's precisely what Mesa and Boyd pledge to prove in schools, spas, corporate fitness centers — and anywhere else they can.

Boyd and Mesa met a little more than a year ago, after Boyd had purchased fitness sessions with the instructor for a friend who, it turned out, couldn't use them. So Boyd — former owner of the infamous Grace Street nightclub, Cafine's — took the sessions himself. What happened next changed Boyd's life, he says, and helped carve out a career he says he'll keep. — Brandon Walters

Add a comment