A role model, found in fiction

October 14, 2008
by Joe Miller, Staff Writer
News & Observer

Delaney Rosen and Chelsea Briggs don't have a lot in common.

Delaney is an outgoing sixth-grader with lots of friends at Exploris Middle School. Chelsea is a loner and keeps to herself at Abigail Adams Junior High. Delaney loves softball; Chelsea hides in the locker room during gym class. Delaney is into storytelling; Chelsea prefers to hide behind the lens of a camera. Delaney is human. Chelsea exists only on the pages of a preteen novel. Yet something that happened to Chelsea midway through "Lake Rescue" struck a chord with Delaney. A chord that, in the long run, may save Delaney's life.

When Delaney turned 10 more than a year ago, she went in for her annual physical. Her pediatrician was blunt: You're about 20 pounds overweight, your blood pressure is high and your cholesterol isn't good. The term "prediabetic" was used. It is an increasingly common diagnosis for someone her age: In North Carolina, one of every 3.5 kids is overweight, according to the Trust for America's Health.

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