News from Shape Up America!
MAY 2005
Shape Up America! Newsletter


Personalized menu plans in the SUA "Members Only" Cyberkitchen
Shape Up America!'s New and Improved CYBERKitchen
Members are able to go online at anytime of the day or night to visit the Shape Up America! CYBERKitchen. After nearly a year of research, programming and testing, our CYBERKitchen was launched in 1998 and was one of our first interactive programs. The CYBERKitchen allows members to enter their height, weight, age, gender and customary activity level in order to have their calorie requirements estimated automatically by the CYBERKitchen.

The purpose of the CYBERKitchen is to teach energy balance - that is, how to balance the calories in the food you eat with the calories you burn in physical activity each day. Using your own personal data, the CYBERKitchen calculates your own personal calorie goals and uses that as your starting point. The CYBERKitchen allows you to choose your own meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), offers you recipes and more. Now, for the first time, the CYBERKitchen also offers you pre-set menu plans based on your own personally selected weight management goals.

If you have not visited the Shape Up America! CYBERKitchen in a while, this may be a good time to give yourself a refresher course in energy balance and while you are there, check out the new 7-day menu plans that are tailored to your own personal weight management goals.

Assessing Body Mass Index (BMI) Percentile in Children
Throughout the United States, schools and clinics are being asked to assess the gender- and age- specific BMI Percentile of children. Anyone who has done this knows it requires very careful measurement of a child's height and weight, calculation of the child's BMI and age on the date of measurement, and careful plotting of the gender-and age-specific BMI Percentile on the CDC's BMI growth chart. It is a tedious process and errors are common.

Yet mis-categorizing a child must be avoided at all costs. If a child is mistakenly categorized as overweight, this can lead to stigmatization and unnecessary alarm. Shape Up America! was determined to automate the tedious process in order to eliminate the need for calculations and plotting of the data and to minimize the risk of erroneous classification of children. We also wanted to insure that the result could be printed and could include up to six historical measurements of the same child so that a child's growth trend could be evaluated.

In 2004, thanks to a grant from Horizon Healthcare, professionals at Shape Up America! devoted several months to the research, programming and testing of the original Shape Up America! Pediatric BMI Percentile Calculator. The Calculator was announced in July, 2004 on the home page of - - the Shape Up America! website. In 2005, the Calculator was improved by adding a higher level of precision in the height and weight data entry process.

If you are interested in encouraging your school system or community health care professionals to use the Shape Up America! Pediatric BMI Percentile Calculator to assess overweight in children ages 2 to 19, this valuable tool is available on the Shape Up America! website. The Calculator is available to all at no charge, thanks to a grant from Horizon Healthcare

Obesity and Mortality: Are you sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?
The respected Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has published a study of obesity and mortality that drastically revised the death rate associated with obesity. But ignoring the hazards of obesity is a little like discontinuing use of seat belts because the mortality from car crashes has decreased over the past decade.

Just as people are still dying from car crashes and tobacco use, too many Americans -- conservatively estimated at 112,000 a year -- are dying prematurely from obesity. In fact, far more deaths are directly linked to obesity in this country than are caused by breast cancer (45,000), Alzheimer's disease (58,866) or HIV/AIDS (14,095).

Obesity is a real health risk -- About two-thirds of all cases of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are linked to obesity. It is also a major risk factor for certain cancers, osteoarthritis and many other disabling conditions. Maternal obesity doubles the risk of raising a child who becomes obese by the age of four. And rates of pediatric obesity have tripled in recent decades.

The JAMA report supports all other reports showing that obesity leads to early death -- Compared to diseases where deaths occur primarily in older adults, 75% of the deaths from obesity occur in people between the ages of 25 and 69.

Obesity affects everyone - The price tag for obesity- related diseases is now more than $100 billion a year, which is almost four times the size of the entire budget for the National Institutes of Health ($28 billion in 2005).

Simply put: the serious nature of obesity hasn't changed -- and neither should your resolve to make smart food choices, get the most nutrition from the calories you consume, and find a balance between eating and physical activity. So, follow the advice of the U.S. Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and every health organization in America and improve your health by controlling your body weight.

Develop a Stronger Mind and Body Through Resistance Training
By Guest Contributor--Michael Roussell
Once stereotyped as the pastime of only muscle- bound young athletes, the positive effects of resistance training are now being realized by people from all walks of life. What are these benefits you may ask?

  • Stronger muscles
  • Stronger bones (decreased risk of osteoporosis)
  • Improved body composition (increase in lean mass and decrease in fat mass)
  • Improved body image and self-confidence
  • Decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Increased metabolic rate

Even with all the above advantages people can still be tentative toward resistance training. Among women, a common concern - fed by countless images of large over-muscled people lifting weights -- is the fear of "bulking up." Well, have no fear! The reality is that most people who include resistance training as part of their exercise program aren't huge or "bulked up."

Actually, bulking up is difficult. It requires eating an enormous number of calories (+4000/day) and having the right hormonal environment. I'm not talking about anabolic steroids; I'm talking about a hormone that your body naturally produces, namely, testosterone. Fortunately women, who usually don't want big muscles, don't produce large amounts of testosterone and so they have a harder time building muscle. Men, who naturally produce more testosterone, have an easier time of it. By eating a moderate amount of food each day in conjunction with the normal hormonal make up of your body, women need not worry about bulking up. Instead they can lift weights and use resistance training exercises to help them enjoy all the benefits stated above.

Another common question about weight training is the cost. Many people ask "Isn't weight training expensive?" or "Don't I have to join a gym?" Fortunately the answer to both questions is No. Weight training doesn't have to be expensive and you can do exercises in your home with little to no equipment

Each month we will explore different exercises that you can do for different parts of your body right in your home! No personal trainers or gym memberships required. These exercises won't be fancy but they will work and if used in conjunction with proper diet and other forms of exercise (walking, jogging, playing sports, etc) you too will come to see why resistance training should be an essential part of everyone's journey toward successful weight management and optimal heath.

phone: 240-715-3900

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Shape Up America! | 15009 Native Dancer Road | North Potomac | MD | 20878