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childhood obesity

How Your Next Run Could Help Fight Childhood Obesity

Written on September 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm , by

Those miles can do more than boost your endurance. (Photo by Laura Doss)

The numbers paint a clear picture: Nearly one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese, according to Michelle Obama’s health initiative Let’s Move! So it wasn’t surprising when her husband, President Obama, signed a proclamation a few weeks ago that declared September as “Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.”

We have a few too many candles on our birthday cakes to directly impact those statistics, but we can take steps to promote healthy habits to the little ones in our lives (like leading by exercise example and cooking nutritious meals with them). And one new way to help—while fitting in our own workouts—caught our eye. In the case of fighting childhood obesity, yes, there’s an app for that.

The Saucony Run4Good app allows people to support the cause by earning donations for miles run,”says Chris Lindner, Chief Marketing Officer of Saucony. “The GPS-enabled app tracks your mileage. Each month, when a collective predetermined mileage goal is reached, Saucony will double its current donation to selected youth running programs.”

The free app is part of Saucony’s Run For Good Foundation, which was launched in 2006. To date, the foundation has awarded nearly $1 million to over 100 organizations dedicated to getting kids active through running (these include American Diabetes Association chapters, YMCA locations and United Way groups). Monthly leader boards allow users to “challenge friends and join teams that compete together to accumulate mileage toward the monthly goal,” Lindner says.

So the next time your motivation to lace up your sneakers is flagging, think of the benefits of your workout beyond the calories and stress that’s burned off. Your mileage could add up to awesome active opportunities for some youngsters out there.

More from FITNESS:

Hot Topic Tuesday: Cholesterol Screenings for 9-Year-Olds?

Written on February 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm , by

The family that plays together stays (fit) together. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

There’s a lot of talk about hearts lately, seeing as it’s Valentine’s Day. Here at FITNESS, we’re strong believers that if you take care of your ticker from an early age, you’ll set your whole body on the right track for the rest of your life. But an interesting report recently published in the journal Pediatrics got us thinking: Should these healthy habits involve more than serving nutritious family dinners and making exercise a priority as a family?

If several medical professionals quoted in the report and in The New York Times have their way, cholesterol screenings may soon be the norm for anyone age 9 and older. They claim that pinpointing genetic and lifestyle risks (family history and childhood obesity, among others) for high cholesterol  at a young age can increase life expectancy and promote healthier habits.

But opponents are worried that making these screenings mandatory, rather than just suggesting them for high-risk youth, would be more than just expensive for the health care system. False positives can occur and some fear that doctors may try to “treat” obesity and high cholesterol with a pill rather than promoting healthier ways to manage weight struggles.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: Do you think pediatricians should screen all kids, from 9 and up, for high cholesterol? Or do you think tests will lead excess stress from false positives and over-medication?

Stomp Away Childhood Obesity in Jillian Michael’s K-Swiss “Fly” Tubes

Written on October 19, 2011 at 10:10 am , by

K-Swiss FLY TUBES Run 100 from Jillian Michaels (Photo courtesy of K-Swiss)

Whenever something totally amazing hits my desk, I get really excited to share the news. So when our favorite TV trainer (Bob, we love you too!), Jillian Michaels, designed her first pair of lightweight running and training shoes for K-Swiss, I said sign me up for a pair!

The FLY TUBES from the Jillian Michaels Collection by K-Swiss are an awesome shade of forest green and yellow (her favorite colors!), and feature an eagle graphic with the mantra “Fly” inscription on the heel. Shoes that speak? I’m kind of loving that.

Not only do they look cool, but the real message of these shoes is even cooler. When you purchase a pair, a portion of the proceeds will go directly to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015 and empower kids to make healthy lifestyle choices. I think these TUBES speak for themselves.

As new research finds about 17 percent of U.S. children aged 2 to 19 are obese, and with obesity rates expected to increase to about 65 million Americans within the next fifteen years, whatever each one of us can do to help this growing epidemic will surely help immensely. Do good and feel good with a pair of Jillian’s newest kicks! And if you’re thinking ahead, they make great holiday presents if I don’t say so myself.

Get your pair today sold exclusively on amazon.com!

Now tell us:Does a new pair of kicks motivate you to hit the road?

Fit Links: Cost-Saving Grocery Tips and Biggest Loser Insider News

Written on September 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm , by

Shop smart and save cash. (Photo by Jody Kivort)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Power Rangers: Keeping Kids Active 20 Years Running

Written on August 11, 2011 at 10:37 am , by

Brittany, as the yellow Power Ranger, shows off her fierce side before taking on the bad guys. (Photo courtesy of Saban Brands)

As one of the stars of Nickelodeon’s Power Rangers Samurai, Brittany Pirtle is able to fuse her love of acting with the fitness skills she learned spending 14 years as a competitive cheerleader. She plays Emily, the youngest and most naive of the team. But her character grows as the season progresses, keeping the team together during tough times.

Since I was a devoted Power Rangers fan when the show first debuted (I still can’t believe the franchise has been around for 20 years!), I was intrigued when I heard that the Rangers are now aiming to take on a big opponent: childhood obesity. The show recently launched the emPOWER program, in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the William J. Clinton Foundation, to inspire kids to get fit and healthy. Brittany told me more about emPOWER and her own exercise habits.

Were you a fan of the series as a kid?

Totally. My cousin and I were really into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers [which aired from 1993-1995]. We were quite a duo and would pretend like we were the characters on the show!

You were a competitive cheerleader for most of your life, and even performed at national and world championships. Do you still cheer?

I’m not competitive anymore, but I did get to use some of the skills when I acted in Bring It On: Fight to the Finish. I still cheer with friends at open gym and go to stunt classes. I’m hoping to maintain those skills as the years progress!

Besides the stunts on the show, how do you stay fit today?

I love Bikram Yoga. I do it everyday to stay grounded and centered emotionally, spiritually and physically. A few times a week, I also run three to five miles along the beach in San Diego to clear my mind. The great scenery is really motivating.

Can you tell me more about the emPOWER program? How can people get involved?

We have a commercial out now promoting the program and teaching kids new exercise moves. Basically, we’re trying to give kids positive reinforcement and inspire them to get active. If they see us being fit, they will want to as well. At powerrangers.com/empower, you can find videos, fun activities and even kits for schools that want to participate.

More from FITNESS: There’s more than one way to inspire a fit kid! Here are eight smart tips to raise healthy youngsters.

Dancing for Change: The 2nd Annual DDR Competition

Written on August 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm , by

Carrie Swidecki with her new DDR world record! (Photo courtesy of Konami)

Carrie Swidecki with her new DDR world record! (Photo courtesy of Konami)

Written by Alexa Cortese, web intern

We love ways to combine fitness and charity, so when we heard about Konami’s second annual DanceDanceRevolution competition in West Virginia, we had to get the scoop on what the event was all about.  Aside from raising awareness on the fight against childhood obesity, a Guinness World Record was broken, and students walked away with up to $2,500 in scholarships!

Carrie Swidecki, a second grade teacher from California broke the record for the longest marathon on a dance and rhythm game with an incredible time of 15 hours, 17 minutes and 44 seconds. Students and other participants had fun while staying active, which solidified the main theme of the event:  Helping children to lead healthier and more active lifestyles.

Those who organized the tournament hope that their efforts will help to lower the number of overweight and obese children in this country, an epidemic that has steadily risen in recent years. The good news is that kids who attended the event now realize that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore, but can be extremely fun and entertaining, as well!

Now tell us: How do you help your kids get active?