by Ed Bryant
Sarah French is this year’s Miss Missouri. Twenty years old, she is beautiful, poised, energetic and athletic. You need those things, and more, when you’re trying to become Miss America. But it’s not just about looks.
Successful contestants must also have a platform, a cause, that would make
the centerpiece of their year. Sarah’s platform is strong on healthy living
physical fitness, and she calls it “Health and Fitness for Life.”
Miss Missouri is very interested in diabetes, with good reason. “Unfortunately, I have a long family history of diabetes...” she states. “I chose my platform because diabetes runs on both sides of my family. I have cousins with diabetes, I have uncles who have diabetes, my mother has diabetes, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother Louie, who’s 98 years old, has it,” she explains.
“My cousins are type 1, and I have an uncle that’s type 2. My mother is type 2, my grandmother is type 2, and, honestly, I think my 98 year old great-grandmother is type 2.”
Born in Dallas, and raised in Hot Springs, AK, Miss Missouri is now a broadcast journalism major at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Sarah has a lot of energy. In addition to being a full-time college student, Sarah makes time to compete in pageants, make public appearances, stay involved with her on-campus organizations, and stay fit.
She volunteers with the Special Olympics, writes health articles for Life
& Home Magazine, and speaks to schools across Missouri about proper
diet and adequate exercise. She’s a dynamo.
“America has a ‘huge’ problem,” Sarah writes on her Web site, www.sarah-french.com. “Sixty percent of Americans are suffering from obesity.” You may be surprised to learn that 70 percent of all cases of cardiovascular disease and 42 percent of colon cancers are among obese individuals. In fact, obesity rates have tripled in the last 40 years.
Sarah is especially concerned about the crisis of childhood obesity. She speaks of the lure of computer games, and the challenge of trying to get today’s young people interested in physical activity. It’s more than just the easy availability of fast food’s “empty” calories, or the disappearance of school physical education; Americans need to learn (or re-learn) how to treat their bodies in a healthy manner. Sarah warns that: “The children of today may grow up to be the first generation of Americans with shorter life spans than their parents. The spread of diabetes in young Americans is frightening,” she continues, “and the trend is not slowing.” She admonishes us to “think healthy, not thin.”
And who better to tell them? People respond best to a lesson when it is coupled
with a positive personal example. Sarah sets so many positive examples; it’s
easy to lose count. She’s an intelligent young woman doing the right things
to avoid or delay diabetes. She is a leader making a positive difference.
Sarah French, Miss Missouri, is talking good sense. She wants all Americans to see the rewards of embracing healthy lifestyle changes, and she understands the danger of doing nothing. She wants people everywhere to choose a healthy future.