Only a Kid: Telling the Stories of Kids in Duke's Healthy Lifestyles Program

As a second year pre-med student, I chose the class Documenting Obesities on almost a complete whim. Besides its relevance to medicine, I thought that a humanities class would keep me sane during a semester filled with hard sciences. Because of my experience working with autistic children, namely my brother, I was paired up with my 10-year-old girl, Alison. Initially, I expected that her Asperger’s syndrome would have a significant role in my eventual documentary. However, upon meeting her mother and observing their relationship, I came to realize that although Alison’s Asperger’s does contribute greatly to her difficulty in finding suitable ways to exercise, her relationship to her mother Denise is by far the most influential force in Alison’s life.
Like Alison, Denise has also had difficulties with weight. In the past, she has suffered from both self-esteem issues and society’s negative stereotypes of overweight or obese people. However, without her openness, I never would have guessed that she even had any these struggles. More than anything, I’m grateful that she had the courage and frankness to describe her own battles in the hopes of helping her daughter with the same problem. To me, she has also given a face to a problem that almost two-thirds of Americans now have to grapple with. Ultimately, she has reminded me that there’s much more beyond this comfortable, sheltered Duke bubble and taught me to be more open-minded toward those who share such a different set of experiences from my own. - Amy Huang

Amy Huang is a sophomore enrolled in the pre-medical track at Duke University.

# vimeo.com/54416666 Uploaded 510 Plays 0 Comments

Only a Kid: Telling the Stories of Kids in Duke's Healthy Lifestyles Program

Liisa Ogburn Plus

We all know that there is an obesity epidemic in the United States today, and despite intensive programs to address it, it continues to grow at an alarming rate. Obesity is the second-leading cause of death in the United States (tobacco is the first).…


+ More

We all know that there is an obesity epidemic in the United States today, and despite intensive programs to address it, it continues to grow at an alarming rate. Obesity is the second-leading cause of death in the United States (tobacco is the first). 65% of American adults are considered overweight or obese and 16-33% of children in the United States are obese, depending on the region.

This semester, through the service-learning course “Documentary Engagement” at Duke University, my students and I had the enormous privilege of working with Dr. Sarah Armstrong, Director of the Duke Healthy Lifestyles Program, and the kids and families enrolled in this model program. Service-learning is a teaching and learning approach that integrates community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Over the course of the semester, Duke undergraduate and graduate students met weekly with these youth enrolled in the Duke Healthy Lifestyles Program, in order to get to know them and over time, to tell their stories.

We wanted to hear directly from the kids and their families about what brought them to this program, the challenges and successes they have faced while there, and the wisdoms gained.

We are deeply grateful that these youth and their families have taken the time to share their stories and wisdom with us, as a way to guide their peers in the right direction, and hope you feel the same.

Browse This Channel

Shout Box

Heads up: the shoutbox will be retiring soon. It’s tired of working, and can’t wait to relax. You can still send a message to the channel owner, though!

Channels are a simple, beautiful way to showcase and watch videos. Browse more Channels.