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Walk In Prospect Park Aims To Raise Awareness For Childhood Obesity

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TWC News: Walk In Prospect Park Aims To Raise Awareness For Childhood Obesity
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To fight childhood obesity, dozens of people got on their feet and went for a walk around Prospect Park in Brooklyn. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.

It may look like just a relaxing stroll in Prospect Park for mom and son, but 7-year-old Elijah Talbert is on a mission.

"I want to be healthy, I want to lose weight and I want my future to be better," he said.

His mom, Lawanna Whaley, said she worries about his weight.

"My biggest fear is that he will develop juvenile diabetes," she said. "That's my biggest fear, because I have diabetes."

To raise awareness about childhood obesity, dozens, including Elijah and his mom, came to Prospect Park Sunday to do jumping jacks, knee raises and, of course, to stretch before making the 3.5-mile trek around the park.

The walkathon was hosted by the Brooklyn-based nonprofit Imani House.

"I was an obese child, and I was always picked on and laughed at, and my prom dress wouldn't fit," said Bisi Iderabdullah, founder of Imani House.

Volunteers set up health and fitness information tables. They said efforts like these are especially needed in low-income neighborhoods.

"In the last three decades, the problem of childhood obesity has tripled," Iderabdullah said.

Iderabdullah said black and Latino children are more likely to be overweight. That's something that she wants to change.

"It's also about getting up out of your chair," she said. "Not reading a book, not looking at TV, not playing a video game, but getting up out of your chair to save your life," she said.

Meanwhile, Elijah said eating healthy all the time is a challenge.

"The thing I really love to eat is Pop Tarts," he said. "But we don't, my mommy stopped me from eating Pop Tarts because they have too much sugar and I couldn't have that stuff."

Elijah said he's lost weight in the past. I asked if that was easy or difficult.

"Wow, that's a hard question," he said. "It's easy. You just have to do a sport. The only sport I want to do right now is basketball."

Organizers said their hope is to connect with other organizations that are combating the problem of childhood obesity. Their hope for next year is that the turnout more than doubles.

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