Tipping the Scales

20-year-old Tyler Serr lost 90lbs after being overweight most of his life. / Sean Streicher

90lbs, that's equivalent to the weight of 113, 12 oz cans of soda, but you don't have to tell 20-year-old Tyler Serr what 90lbs feels like. Last year, Tyler weighed 220lbs, by the time he was ready to start college the following fall that number was cut to 130lbs.

"It was just time, my whole life I was kinda over weight," explained Serr.

What started out as a light jog around the block evolved into a 5 mile run. Slowly but surely the pounds began peeling off. Sure there were days he felt like quitting, but he kept fighting, kept working, toward his goal.

"Sometime though I would feel the same, like oh I've done nothing, what's the point, but I mean you just got to pass through those days and keep going," said Serr

Serr's struggle with his weight began at an early age, which is an all too common occurrence across the state of Georgia, says Lynn Burson the Director of Child Health in Southwest Georgia, "It is a problem, we tend to have a large number of obese children, and of course our obese children, if it's not caught, we don't reverse the trend, we're going to have a lot of obese adults, which we do."

The Georgia Departments of Health reports 15% of high school students, in Georgia, are obese, that number is even higher in low-income areas.

"The higher fat foods are the cheaper foods. Your fast foods, your ready prepared foods, those are easier for the families to give their children. It's higher fat content and the kids, that's what they eat," say's Burson.

While it may take a little work Burson says it's possible to eat healthy on a budget. Shop around for deals and get in the practice of reading labels, paying close attention to the fat content, and carbohydrates.

It's more then just a healthy diet, parents need to get their children involved some sort of physical activity, whether it be a sport, riding a bike, or just taking them to the park to run around.

It's a sedentary lifestyle that can lead to health complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes.

Pam Jackson knows the devastating side effects of these diseases first hand. Her brother, Bernard Green passed away from health complications brought on from being overweight, something he struggled with from an early age.

"After I lost my brother to being overweight and unhealthy, he had a lot of illnesses which are obesity caused, and so I wanted to give back in his memory and help the kids that live in this community," said Jackson.

This tragedy inspired her to found Youth Becoming Healthy, an organization that was created to remove the barriers to physical activity, circumstances such as dangerous neighbor hoods, transportation limitations, and financial restraints that could stop kids from being active.

"I wanted to do is remove those barriers and establish fitness centers in 8 of the schools, we're in 5 of the middle schools and 3 of the elementary schools," explained Jackson.

Besides an after school program, YBH hosts an intense summer camp which children must be referred by their pediatrician to attend.

"We have dietitians to come and work with them, and this year we had an NFL player that's a local guy that came in (to) work with them, and you know its physical activity all day long. And hopefully, like I said, if I can turn one around then his (Bernard Green) death wont be in vain," says Jackson.

20-year-old Tyler Serr is proof that a life can be turned around, he urges people not to give up on their fight to loss weight, "You can lose the weight, cause there for a while I didn't think I could ever really lose it, I always talked about itâ|and never really followed through with (it), but this last time I actually followed through with it andâ|it's possible."

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