Teen takes health into his own hands

Sam Rickert took charge of his weight by making lifestyle changes that rubbed off on his family and friends, too.

When Sam Rickert looked in the mirror, he didn’t like what he saw: an unfit, overweight young man. He decided to make a change after noticing that fit people maintain healthy habits.

“I started talking to others who looked fit and discovered that they didn’t drink soda,” Sam said. “So I stopped too.”

After talking to a friend, he started going to a gym and lifting weights a few days a week. He then considered what he was eating.

“I started to eat healthier foods, especially at breakfast,” Sam said. “I stopped eating waffles and pancakes and began to eat eggs and maybe one piece of bacon. For dinner I’d pile on the broccoli and eat fruit for snacks. I also stay away from desserts.”

According to Joseph Meiners, M.D., pediatrician at Norton Children’s Hospital Medical Associates – Dupont, Sam is making responsible decisions about his health.

“Watching the type of calories consumed is one of the best things a teen can do,” Dr. Meiners said. “Sam started doing the right things that will serve him well throughout his life.”

Sam’s parents joined in when they saw his dedication.

“I started looking at what I was purchasing at the store, making sure I had healthier choices that would support Sam,” his mom, Debbie, said. “Then my husband started watching more of what he ate. It became a family lifestyle change.”

Sam’s friends also joined in. One started accompanying him to the gym and others reassessed their eating habits.

Thanks to a few simple changes, Sam, now 15, was able to lose 6 inches from his waist and approximately 25 pounds in just over a year.

“I feel great,” he said. “I play golf and also wanted to be more flexible. Being more fit and muscular has certainly helped me improve my game.”

Does your family 5-2-1-0?
A simple rule to keep your family healthy: five or more servings of fruits and vegetables; two or fewer hours of screen time; one hour or more of physical activity; and zero sugary drinks.

Teens helping kids
Sam is a member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation senior teen board, a group of high school students that works to raise awareness and funds for Norton Children’s Hospital. For information on how to become a member of the junior or senior teen board, call the Children’s Hospital Foundation at (502) 629-8060.


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