Monday, August 05, 2002

Fit Bits

Ways to stay active and healthy

Compiled by Peggy O'Farrell


        Kid calories: School-based exercise and nutrition programs make for more physically active, better nourished children who are less likely to be at risk for obesity and related health problems, researchers say.

        Researchers tracked the impact of the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) on elementary school students in El Paso, Texas.

        The program “significantly increased moderate to vigorous physical activity during physical education, decreased fat in school meals and decreased sodium in school breakfasts,” said the study.

        The El Paso study followed the first attempt to integrate the CATCH program at elementary schools. Follow-up studies of CATCH at 96 other schools showed the program produces lasting improvements in physical activity and eating habits.


        Gut gone: The Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers these tips for abs of steel in its August issue:

        • Get regular, general exercise. Burning calories with aerobic activity burns fat. Crunches alone won't do the trick.

        • Target lower and deeper abdominal muscles with specific exercises.

        • Stand up straight. Slouching makes your stomach more prominent.

        • Beware of bloat: Some foods, including beans, cabbage and bran, can cause bloating.

Hot news

        Bad pill: An article in the July 27 issue of Neurology contends that creatine and ephedrine use by football players may be linked to a surge of heat stroke deaths since 1995.

        From 1985 to 1994 only six deaths related to dehydration and heat stroke were reported among football players, said lead author Dr. Julian Bailes, chair of neurosurgery at West Virginia University and consultant to the National Football League Players Association. But four such deaths were reported each year in 1995, 1998, 2000 and 2001. All happened during summer practices.

        Dr. Bailes and his co-authors argue that the popular diet supplements may affect the body's ability to remain properly hydrated during hot-weather physical activity.

        Ephedrine can have serious side effects on the heart and central nervous system. It also increases the core body temperature and impairs the body's ability to cool itself.

        Creatine monohydrate is marketed as a muscle-builder. It has been shown to shift body water from the bloodstream into muscle cells, which makes heat stroke more likely.


        Survey says: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons wants to know if you've suffered an injury related to your weight training program. Log on to and click on the link that says “consumer survey.” Answer the questions and the academy will send you tips, guidelines and exercises for reducing your risk of exercise injury.
Shelf help

        How to: Pilates: Body in Motion (DK Publishing; $14.95) by instructor Alyciea Ungaro outlines the classic Pilates mat exercises for beginners and more advanced fans.


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- Fit Bits
Fitness videos get kids moving
Supplements useless without self-discipline