Monday, April 28, 2003

Fit Bits

Ways to stay active and healthy

By Peggy O'Farrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer


Move more: Too little exercise, not too many calories, is responsible for obesity among American teens, suggests a new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Lisa Sutherland found that obesity among U.S. teens increased 10 percent from 1980 through 2000, while physical activity decreased 13 percent. Caloric intake increased only 1 percent.

"The decrease in physical education in schools, changes in transportation methods and popularity of television, video games and the Internet all contribute to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle for kids," said Sutherland, a clinical nutrition researcher. "Given these trends, it is crucial that we find new and creative ways to increase physical activity in adolescents as a first line of defense to combating obesity."

More research and new policies are needed to combat teen obesity, Sutherland said.

The Goods

On video: Workout videos featuring the Lotte Berk Method, used in her New York studio, are available through Natural Journeys, or (800) 737-1825. Titles, $19.95 each, include Muscle Eats Fat and Hip Hugger Abs.

Just in

Overstuffed: Consumers who choose more food for only a little more money are probably short-changing their health, Penn State researchers say.

Super-sized restaurant meals lead to higher calorie intake. A related study showed that when individuals overate at one meal where big portions were served, they didn't compensate by cutting back the next day.

"The bigger portions that restaurants are providing make consumers vulnerable to overeating, since most individuals eat all or most of what is served. The excess food in mega portions is not going home in doggie bags. It is, instead, fueling the obesity epidemics," said Dr. Barbara Rolls, director of the study and Guthrie Chair of Nutrition at Penn State's College of Health and Human Development.

One segment of the study showed that consumers rated a standard-sized pasta meal and a larger portion that included a roll and vegetable the same for satisfaction and appropriateness of the portion size. The meals were priced the same, and consumers ate nearly all of the pasta in both size meals.

A second segment of the study showed that consumers given the same meals for two days for three consecutive weeks didn't cut back on calories during the second day of the study, even after portion sizes were increased.

The studies were presented April 12 at the Experimental Biology 2003 conference in San Diego. The National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases helped fund the studies.

Shelf help

Updated: Thin for Life: 10 Keys to Success From People Who Have Lost Weight and Kept It Off (Houghton Mifflin; $16) by Anne M. Fletcher is a revised handbook for fighting weight gain.

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

A young actor to watch
Other rising teen stars
Artist involves UC students in exhibit for new center
Get to It: A guide to help make your day

'Hot Yoga' a real stretch
Keep fit for whole self, not just looks
Fit Bits: Ways to stay active and healthy
Fitness Calendar

Glass' Symphony No. 5 hypnotizes CCM crowd
Opening band beats Heat and Repeat

'Identity' takes in $17 million

MSNBC's iron man anchor earned his stripes
BBC, U.S. reporter criticize cable war coverage