*Most people have a bucket list. You know; a list of goals they want to accomplish before they kick the bucket. A majority of Americans are challenged by obesity and all the health issues that come with it. That’s why, for millions of people, their bucket lists include a vow to achieve at least one elusive physical feat: Swim across a body of water, run a marathon or compete in a Tour de France’ type bike race.
Glenn Keller had those same objectives, but instead of getting closer to his goals, Keller said he was moving farther from them. And his truck driver job kept him from sticking to any fitness goals he set. That is until he read about CNN’s 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. For the past two years, CNN and its chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, have trained everyday people to compete in a triathlon. And with hours to go before the deadline, Keller pulled his big rig into the nearest Wal-Mart parking lot where he purchased his last bucket of chicken and a webcam to record his last minute video entry (http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-719842). More than one hundred people submitted videos. Keller was one of the seven chosen. Gupta called to deliver the news to each of the seven. Gupta, who had been considered for the U.S. Surgeon General’s position, is an Emmy award winning medical journalist.
Gupta and other health experts say seventy-five percent of Americans are so overweight their extra pounds have caused chronic health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. It’s the primary reason the cost of healthcare is out of control. African-American men face a number of health challenges. For Keller his obesity has caused him to suffer from sleep apnea, a condition whereby a person stops breathing in his sleep because of restricted airwaves. As the world turns its attention the Super Bowl, one of the NFL greats, Reggie White, died from complications due to sleep apnea. And because Keller realizes the seriousness of his condition he wears a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask when he sleeps.
Since December Keller and his teammates have been working to cross “triathlon” off their bucket lists. Each trainee has free access to a dietician, trainers, a fitness gym membership a new bicycle and other necessities. Now Keller makes CNN iReporter updates about this progress. He hopes to lose 100 pounds before the September triathlon, and he is encouraging others to reach their own fitness goals. Those who can’t travel to compete in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September should train for local events. Keller hosts a national prayer line three times a day from the seat of his big rig where he promotes spiritual and physical fitness. He also plans to share simple dietary and fitness tips he will receive throughout his training. You can follow his progress on Twitter @trihardGlenn, on his Facebook Page/ Making A Difference Ministries or on the health and fitness section of CNN.com where his weekly iReports are posted.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. For comments, questions and speaking requests email her at email@example.com
*Test tube salmon could be on its way to a grocery store near you, and if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its way the label on the package won’t indicate which was farm-raised or genetically engineered from a lab. It’s an experiment that has not been tested in the mainstream food supply. So there’s no way of knowing if the altered fish could cause an allergic reaction in some people with food allergies until it’s too late.
It sounds like the beginning of a bad SciFi Channel movie: People all over of the country unknowingly eat genetically altered fish. And just like the movie “The Fly,” they start to develop fish-like characteristics until one day their appendages fall off only to be replaced by scales and fins and they swim away.
Call me dramatic, but I’ll take my chances with the farm-raised fish over test tube fish any day. For one thing, I don’t fully understand the process an “engineered” fish goes through from the lab to my plate. And I’m not alone. Only a quarter of Americans say they fully understand what genetically engineered seafood is all about, according to a recent poll. Although most people are ok with genetically altered fruits, vegetables and chickens that produce those huge fried wings you get at the Chinese restaurants, 65 percent of the people say they don’t want to eat genetically engineered fish. And of the 35 percent of the people who would be willing to try it, most of them say grocers should be made to use labels on the package so everyone easily can tell the difference.
According to a National Public Radio report, genetic engineering splices good traits of one living being into another using rDNA , or rDNA technology. One company that provides test tube salmon has injected the fertilized eggs of Atlantic salmon with a growth gene from Pacific Chinook salmon. And that overrides the Atlantic salmon’s tendency to stop growing in colder weather.
Did I lose you?
This process allows the salmon to grow twice its normal size in half the time. It effectively renders the majority of the fish sterile. It protects the company’s intellectual material. And that means more money for the altered -fish manufacturing company.
Sure, the test-tube fish manufacturing people will talk about how this kind of technology is needed to keep up with the demand for seafood and how without it the American people will suffer. But the fact remains the FDA doesn’t have enough evidence to ensure one way or another the effects the “engineered” fish will have in the general population. And judging from the FDA’s track record on preventing the release of new drugs with deadly side effects, I don’t intend to be the guinea pig. And neither should you.
Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send questions, comments or requests for speaking engagements to Steffanie at firstname.lastname@example.org. And see the video version of her journal at youtube.com/steffanierivers.
*According to a report recently released by the USA Swimming Foundation, 70 percent of African American children and nearly 60 percent of Hispanic kids “have little or no swimming ability.”
Those figures compare to only 40 percent of Caucasian youngsters who cannot swim.
The biggest tragedy associated with the swimming gap is that Black children are far more likely to drown than white kids.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African American youngsters aged 5 to 14 drowned at a rate 3.1 times that of whites in the same age group between 2000 and 2006.
USA Swimming is tackling the program with its “Make a Splash” swimming training program. (source: Taylor Media Services – www.blacknewsjournal.net)