First person: I always feel that my son is my shadow

Childhood obesity is one of the most significant health threats facing our nation’s children. Almost one third of US kids are overweight or obese. But in some cities and communities across the nation, rates are improving. Everyday heroes are turning the tide.

David, who lives with his wife Anne and their 13-year-old son Jesse in Austin, Texas, is one of those heroes. He knows that by modeling healthy behaviors and engaging Jesse in activities they both love, he can inspire lifelong habits that will help keep Jesse healthy. Here’s his story:

David’s story

I always feel that my son, Jesse, is my shadow.  He’ll learn from my example, so if I want him to do something he should see me doing it, too.

We use our love of sports to keep us active and away from watching too much TV.  Baseball is our connection between father and son.  It is Jesse’s favorite sport so he plays in the fall and the spring.  I’m papa and coach.  Baseball is something we can do together instead of sitting inside and watching TV all day.

I try to make sure that Jesse learns healthy habits by seeing them in me.  I don’t send him outside to exercise alone—I always go with him.  We do things together so we both benefit, and it makes it more fun.

When baseball season is over, we do workouts in the morning.  We vary our workouts and do a full-body workout with light weights and calisthenics.  We practice correct posture with weights that aren’t too heavy for a growing kid. Everything I’ve read says we need to keep kids moving and building muscle tone by keeping the muscle growing at a nice, easy pace. I’ve studied the right way to lift and I’ve tried to teach that to Jesse.

Every child should have a healthy lifestyle. We all need a little down time now and then, but it is important that we keep our kids active and exercising regularly. We’ve always been an active family and that carries on.  You won’t see me sitting around doing nothing, so you won’t see Jesse doing that either.

To read more about David and other families who’ve adopted healthy habits to combat childhood obesity in their own homes, visit, and order or download your free copies of A Year of Being Well: Messages From Families on Living Healthier Lives.