Tour de Youth: Oakwood University Joins the Cycling Craze

What do you get when you add a student from Oakwood University, a 73-year-old veteran, a 62-year-old mountain bike racer, a nurse anesthetist, two pastors and a quiet 62-year-old? You have the 2017 Tour de Youth Cycling event. These seven cyclists rode over 520 miles, from Houston to New Orleans, for six days in April, to bring awareness to youth and adult obesity and Adventist education.

This is the third year of the event but the first year that Oakwood University has sponsored and made it part of its Healthy Campus 2020 movement. “Heathy Campus 2020 (HC2020) is Oakwood University’s organized initiative to empower students to make healthy choices,” says Dr. Lesile Pollard, President of Oakwood University. “This program is a response to the problem of preventable diseases, which affect our students.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the rate of obesity in children from ages 6-11 doubled and for ages 12-19 tripled. High risk factors exist in the minority communities where 98% of our students call home. Elizabeth Landau with CNN.com Health reported that the adult and youth obesity rates have risen in 28 states over the past years and is projected to continue. “Ten out of 11 states with the highest rates of obesity are in the South…” These findings are incredible and frightening. Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink, cites income disparities also “may contribute to this trend of obesity being prevalent in the South.

“We were not created to live stationary lives. Our young people need great role models for health that they can reach out and touch. Young people need leaders that will do more than just talk about healthy lifestyle and making education affordable; they must put them to action for the future of your youth.”

The Tour de Youth was created in 2014 by Pastor Kenn Dixon, an avid cyclist, who now serves as the Director of Integrated Marketing and Public Relations at Oakwood University. With 16 riders, the first tour began in Dallas and concluded in San Antonio for the 60th General Conference session in 2015. Since then, there have been many local rides and two major cycling tours from Houston to New Orleans. Now that the Tour has moved into the Southern Union and to Oakwood University, we are looking for more participants, additional routes and continuing the message, “Making Healthy Bodies and Determined Minds a Priority.”

2018 Tour de Youth will be April 8-13, beginning in Houston, Texas, and concluding in New Orleans, Louisiana.  If you would like to ride, sponsor or support this event, please visit www.bedetermined.org or call Oakwood University
Public Relations at (256) 726-7202.


1 http://www.oakwood.edu/healthy-campus-2020

2 http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

3 Regional Voice article written by Pastor Kenn Dixon in 2014

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