By Jennifer Bihm Sentinel Contributing writer"It starts at home," said Thomas Miles, aka Nephew Tommy of The Steve Harvey Morning Show fame. "Who's shopping and cooking for the kids when they're not at school?"The comedian was on hand March 12 in Culver City, to help fitness expert Dawn Strozier celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Fight Against Obesity Foundation and the one year celebration of the Aerobics Room grand opening.
The three hour event, held at the Courtyard Marriott, also served as a vehicle for Strozier and the increasingly popular Fitness Kidz, to invite and encourage the community to come out to Aerobics on Crenshaw. There, she teaches a variety of cardio strengthening routines to adults and children.Amidst a three course lunch, guests were treated to high energy fitness routine demonstrations, like cardio step, Zumba and boot camp. In between routines Strozier stressed the importance of proper nutrition along with exercise as the most effective way to fight obesity. She starts with the kids, she said, who in turn can encourage parents to adopt better habits."Our motto is, 'we may not be able to control what our parents buy or cook but we can ask them to make better choices,'" she said. "So if I can get [the kids] to ask for oranges and apples for example and not burgers and fries, then parents will start to shop and cook differently."Rounding out the event was an awards presentation honoring those who helped start and foster the FAOF's development. The Kidz of the Foundation were also honored for their hard work and dedication to improving their health and changing their lives, Strozier said. For more than 10 years now, The Kidz have been touring the United States helping Strozier encourage families to take responsibility for their own health. Medical experts describe obesity as a condition in which body fat is excessive, about 20 percent above normal weight. While many factors contribute to obesity like age, gender, genetics, medications and certain illnesses its major cause is simply taking in more calories than the body uses for fuel. In fact, proper diet and sufficient exercise can help anyone maintain a healthy weight despite any of those factors. Medical experts also maintain obesity as being one of the leading causes of preventable death in the world. It is a catalyst for a myriad of health problems, the most serious being heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. According to Strozier, the United States comes in third as one of the world's fattest countries. "Three million people die from it each year," she said. "Half the people who have it don't realize the seriousness of it..."Strozier started the foundation after a stint with her own health problems at age 19. She had been on the "Standard American Diet (SAD)," she said, until severe digestive problems landed her in the hospital. "I had to make a decision right then to be healthy," Strozier said. The celebrity fitness trainer took the lessons from that incident and applied them to a national tour, where fifteen overweight kids joined her in getting fit and educating communities. FAOF offers a variety of programs for families including nutrition counseling, fitness workshops and mentoring programs. The Aerobics Room is located at 3820 Crenshaw Blvd. in Los Angeles. For more information call (323) 295-2169.