Spending a day at Concord Mills mall, walking around through each shopping neighborhood can be exhausting for your body, and for your wallet.
This Saturday, hundreds of people will walk three laps (3 miles) around the mega-mall, not to shop, but to raise money for a serious chronic disease that has become a national epidemic.
Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast is sponsoring the "Walk From Obesity." Proceeds will benefit the educational and research initiatives of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation and the Obesity Action Coalition.
"The Obesity Action Coalition is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to giving a voice to those affected by obesity," said James Zervios, the group's communications director. "The OAC was formed to build a nationwide coalition of those affected by obesity to become active advocates and spread the important message of the need for obesity education.
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"As obesity affects more than 93million Americans, and one in three children, it is vitally important that we as a society address this disease at the grassroots level."
Among those 93million obese Americans, more than 15million are morbidly obese. The disease costs our health-care system more than $117billion a year as hundreds die daily from obesity and related health conditions.
Unfortunately, many North Carolinians are all too familiar with this epidemic. According to a 2009 report by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, North Carolina has the 12th-highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, at 28.3percent, and the 14th-highest among youth ages 10-17, at 33.5percent.
More than 70 "Walk From Obesity" walks take place nationwide each year.
"The OAC has been co-hosting the Walk From Obesity with the ASMBS Foundation for the past four years," Zervios said. "To date, the walk has raised approximately $4 million."
The walk at Concord Mills is scheduled for 8-9:30 a.m. Saturday. Meet at Books-A-Million at Entry 2. You can register online at www.walkfromobesity.com. The registration fee is $25 ($30 on the day of the walk) and includes a T-shirt.
If you would like more information on this complex and often misunderstood disease, or if you are interested in joining the OAC or supporting its efforts, visit www.obesityaction.org.
Not only are Americans getting heavier, but more than two-thirds of all Americans are overweight, and an astounding 78percent do not even meet recommended basic activity levels.
Join the walk and take the first step to make sure you are not a statistic.