This year, my adopted home state of West Virginia ranked first in a Gallup report on the most obese states.
This is one poll where I don't want to be number one.
Physical activity and eating right play a major part in the lives of professional and collegiate athletes. I was fortunate to have the best trainers and coaches at West Virginia University and in the NFL provide the necessary tools to live an active, physical lifestyle.
This lifestyle wasn't unique to my playing days at WVU and post-collegiate career in the NFL. If you ask anyone who has played collegiate athletics, most will tell you they were very active from a young age.
Unfortunately, that's not true for today's children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 15 percent of children and adolescents are now overweight. The Child Study Center, a research and clinical arm of New York University, reports that 30 percent of adult obesity begins in childhood.
So let's run the logic. If West Virginia adults have been first in the Gallup obesity poll for three years running and adult obesity is linked to overweight youth, what does that say about the current health of our children?
Like me, every former WVU athlete sees the state as our second home. The years we spent at WVU were some of the best of our lives. It's only natural that we feel a desire and a responsibility to give back.
Today, along with several of my fellow alumni, I am committing to fight the lack of health and wellness among K-8 students in West Virginia. I'm doing this with the help of 'nPLAY Foundation, a coalition of professional athletes united to fight childhood obesity.