Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fitness Expert Says Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Fight is Swimming Upstream Against the Gene Pool

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CALIFORNIA – While Michelle Obama’s admirable quest to fight childhood obesity is addressing the issues of better nutritional choices and increased movement for America’s youth, her campaign is missing the “elephant in the room” when it comes to many children’s struggles with obesity.

Michelle Pearl, ACE certified professional fitness expert, entrepreneur and author, insists that the issue of chronic genetic obesity also must be addressed because as many as two-thirds of America’s youth will otherwise remain unaffected by the First Lady’s current program. Pearl, author of Wake up! You’re Probably Never Going to Look Like That: How to be Happier, Healthier and Imperfectly Fit (ISBN 978-0-557-27290-7, 2010 Lulu, 131 pages, $14.95, struggled with morbid obesity throughout her childhood and adult life until she managed to lose over 100 pounds twice, and successfully keep the weight off the second time.

“For Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned campaign to be successful she must first expose as ineffective the erroneous messages and ill-conceived recommended weight loss methods that children and their parents are bombarded with throughout the media,” stresses Pearl. “Then she must include a component to teach families how to deal with the difficult side-effects of a lowered metabolism which children with chronic weight problems who cut back on their caloric intake will experience. And, finally, she will need to teach children and their families to have realistic body expectations to increase their perception of their own successes.” According to a Stanford University School of Medicine study, 67 percent of children suffer from obesity because they are genetically predisposed to. And, the study determined, the factor that puts children at the greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents. “In other words, if you want to know how you might look in your jeans in 30 years, you might want to look at your genes,” says Pearl.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Albert Stunkard of the University of Pennsylvania found a comprehensive 20-year registry of Danish adoptees. The registry, originally maintained to determine if schizophrenia was an inherited disorder, also detailed the heights and weights of the adoptees, their biological parents, and their adoptive parents. Stunkard’s findings definitively showed that obesity stems from genetic influences, rather than environmental factors, because the adoptees ended up as fat as their biological parents, regardless of the size of their adoptive parents. “Trying to fix childhood obesity without making changes in the way the entire family looks at and handles chronic obesity,” adds Pearl, “is like trying to row a boat with one oar in a hurricane; it’s going to be pretty rough going and you can be fairly certain that only a slim number of passengers are going to make it.”

Pearl’s book Wake Up! takes on the mass-media-driven myth that everyone should be striving to achieve the perfect body and instead provides an optimistic testament that exercise and eating right will absolutely be life-changing. “But the message of the book,” stresses Pearl, “is that to become a success story before you jump in front of a camera for that coveted ‘after’ picture, you need to make a giant leap of faith and learn to rethink your expectations.” In Wake Up! Pearl discusses what she believes are the fallacies of the erroneous messages of fitness guru Jillian Michaels and the dangers of the game show The Biggest Loser which she also chronicles at In addition, Pearl interviewed seven Imperfectly Fit Superstars from across the United States and chronicles their success stories in Wake Up!

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