Nickelodeon's Alexander Making Good Health a Priority
January 18, 2012
By Laury Livsey, PGA TOUR Staff
INDIAN WELLS, Calif.—Actor Reed Alexander, who plays the somewhat villainous Nevel Papperman on Nickelodeon’s TV show “iCarly,” looked in the mirror four years ago and didn’t like what he was seeing.
He felt lethargic and tired, and the extra weight he was carrying, he decided, was the reason for the malaise he was experiencing. Alexander realized he needed to lose about 15 pounds, so that’s what he did. At the same time, he started a website, figuring teenagers should know that losing weight can be done and healthy living is the way to go. If the Alexander-inspired kewlbites.com resembles an interactive, virtual kitchen, well, that’s no coincidence.
“I try to boil things down, no pun intended, and put what’s on the site in a relatable form for all of us, but mostly for kids,” Alexander said.
The 18-year-old Alexander was here as part of the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters conference as part of the PGA TOUR's Humana Challenge. He spoke on a panel moderated by Chelsea Clinton about the importance of good health choices in America’s schools. Drawing on his own background of weight loss and his decision to help others through his website, Alexander knows of what he speaks.
“During that (weight-loss) process, I learned a lot about myself,” Alexander said. “I came up with notes and tips, and I really crossed a threshold realizing that I’m a work in progress. I didn’t like the way I looked, and I also knew there was a history of heart disease and diabetes in my family.
“So I created kewlbites,” he continued, “and now I can tell people what’s worked for me. Maybe it will work for them.”
Another motivating factor for Alexander, who grew up in South Florida and now lives in California, was the death, three years ago, of his great uncle. Four days before Alexander’s grandfather’s brother died, Alexander was having dinner with him.
“That’s always been something that’s been on my radar, something that was a very poignant moment for me as I realized that I had just seen him the week before,” Alexander said. “To get the call and me realizing I was not going to be able to chat with him any longer, I knew I needed to start taking the reins. It was a motivator.”
On kewlbites.com, there’s video of Alexander talking about healthy eating choices. Click at the top and you’ll find recipes that are kid-friendly but there for people of all ages. Click again and you have tips from Alexander on how to begin an exercise regimen.
Even the name, spelled k-e-w-l but pronounced “cool,” shows that this isn’t your mom and dad’s website.
“I wanted to do the site from a kid’s point of view. So the genesis of kewlbites was to find a way to provide a destination for kids that would put a fun spin on what I think a lot of us would agree is a very serious topic,” he added.
“We need innovation to change kids’ healthy habits and their families’ habits, as well as being a necessary intervention point if we’re really going to turn the tide on childhood obesity in our country,” Clinton said. “So this now is becoming not only a real public health threat but also brings into question where we are as a country and what we value.”
Alexander is doing his part, his website tangible evidence of his commitment to better nutrition.
“It’s all about healthy bites in this community I’ve launched, and hopefully bites of some delicious recipes at the same time,” he said. “But it’s welcome to all, a freestanding invitation to my kitchen.”
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