Monday, January 6, 2003

Fit Bits

Ways to stay active and healthy

By Peggy O'Farrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer


Trend: Teens who go to extremes to lose weight (diet pills or vomiting) are also more likely to smoke, drink, use marijuana and attempt suicide, says a new study.

The study, based on the 1999 South Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey, looked at more than 4,000 teens, including 19.2 percent who used extreme behaviors to lose weight. An additional 43.2 percent were moderate dieters, relying on eating less and exercising for weight control.

The survey compared behaviors by race and gender.

White girls had higher rates of all weight-control methods compared with boys. African-American boys were more likely to use diet pills or vomiting than black girls. And girls were more likely to use vigorous exercise to lose weight than boys.

White girls were more likely overall to use extreme or moderate measures.


Work (out) smart: Shopping for a health club? Remember these suggestions from the American Council on Exercise:

• Location: You're more likely to use a club close to your home or job.

• Classes: Make sure that the club offers a mix that you find appealing, and that the classes are offered at days, times and prices that meet your needs.

• Staff: Trainers and instructors should be certified through national organizations.

• Hours: Make sure the club is open when you plan to work out. Check out the crowds during those times.

• Trial run: Request a day pass or a trial membership before committing.

• Cost: Ask about payment schedules, sign-up specials and what exactly your membership fee covers (Towels? Child care? The sauna?)

• Details: Is it clean? Is the music too loud? Are all the machines in good working order? Do staff show you how to use the equipment?


Lunchbox: The nutrition experts at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., suggest packing these foods for a healthful lunch:

• Broccoli: Phytochemicals might fight off cancer and lutein guards vision. Aim for two to three servings a week.

• Vegetables: All kinds of them, every day.

• Apples: Phenol antioxidants help keep bad (LDL) cholesterol from clogging arteries.

• Soy nuts: They're high in protein, low in fat and isoflavones and might prevent osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease.

• Fish: Salmon and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Eat at least one 3-ounce portion a week.

• Nuts: They're high in heart-healthy fat and protein.

Shelf help

New edition: The New Sugar Busters! (Ballantine Books; $24.95) by H. Leighton Steward, Morrison C. Bethea, Sam S. Andrews and Luis A. Balart features 18 new chapters promising to help you shed pounds and cholesterol.

Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone, 768-8510; fax, 768-8330, or e-mail,

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