News from Shape Up America!
June 2007
Shape Up America! Newsletter


What's Healthy for Children?
Nutrition Standards for Foods (and Beverages) in Schools
by Barbara J. Moore, PhD
The epidemic of childhood obesity is reigniting debate about the marketing of foods and beverages to children. Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency which oversees content on radio and TV, established a task force to examine the issue. The FCC is planning to issue a report in July that we will cover in a future issue of this newsletter. This move by the FCC is partially in response to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2006 report, Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity, which recommends that the food and beverage industry formulate products that are lower in calories and higher in nutrient delivery, and refrain from marketing products to children that do not meet higher nutritional standards.

The Institute of Medicine released a March 2007 report that recommended nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold in schools, particularly those that are offered in competition with the federally-reimbursed National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. If competitive foods are offered, they should consist of nutritious fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nonfat or low-fat milk and dairy products.

The IOM recommendations for foods sold in schools include:

  • Fat: No more than 35% of calories from fat per portion.
  • Sugar: No more than 35% of calories from sugar per portion (with certain exceptions that would permit fruit, 100% juice and certain flavored milk and yogurt products to be offered in schools, despite containing a higher percentage of calories from sugar).
  • Calories: No more than 200 calories per portion for snacks; calorie limits for entrees would be guided by calorie limits for comparable foods offered through the National School Lunch Program.
  • Sodium: No more than 200 milligrams per snack portion; no more than 480 milligrams per entree.

The beverages permitted during the school day are to be caffeine-free and without carbonation. This would permit plain water, low-fat (1%) and nonfat milk (or the equivalent in soy milk or lactose-free milk, or flavored milk with no more than 22 grams of total sugars per 8-ounce portion), and 100% juice in limited portions (8 ounces for high school students, 4 ounces for younger students).

Although Shape Up America! is supportive of the IOM nutritional standards for foods sold and served in schools, we are hearing from our industry colleagues on the FCC Task Force that there is a question whether such standards are appropriate for the general marketplace. They also feel that banning or limiting advertising to children is logistically difficult, if not impossible, and may infringe on First Amendment (free speech) rights.

Regardless of what happens at the federal level, local activism by parents, caregivers, educators and policymakers can profoundly influence marketing to children in schools and the community. By insisting that local schools have wellness policies that include the IOM nutritional standards for foods and beverages offered in schools, and using these same standards for foods sold in parks and at community events, parents and other concerned adults can make a difference. We urge you to become an advocate for local food policies that can have a positive impact on improving children's diets.

Aerobic Exercise
by Michael Roussell
This month we change gears slightly and look at different types of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is defined by the American College of Sports Medicine as "any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously, and is rhythmic in nature." People most commonly think of running or jogging when aerobic activity comes to mind, but other activities such as swimming, dancing, walking, hiking, bike riding, canoeing, inline skating and playing sports like soccer and basketball are also great forms of aerobic activity.

Since there are many different types of aerobic activity, it is important to pick an activity you enjoy. For example, if you don't like to run, then don't force yourself to go running; instead, try hiking, biking, dancing or swimming. If you are a beginner, being active may feel like work. The good news is that the human body responds to exercise quite quickly; within a few weeks, there are measurable improvements. Your heart will grow stronger and more efficient. Over time, your exercise program will improve lung function and build muscle, and weight-bearing exercise will even strengthen your bones. Your aerobic exercise program can be enjoyable and a great outlet for stress.

To avoid injury, choose an activity that suits your level of fitness. For example, when starting out, it is not a good idea to run three miles. Your muscles and joints will not be used to that amount of exercise. If your choice is running, a better progression over several weeks or even months would be walking, then jogging, and eventually running. Start with short distances and as you build your strength and endurance over a period of weeks to months, try going farther. Remember, you don't have to be in great shape tomorrow. The key is to create a program that you can follow throughout your life.

It is also important to choose an activity that suits your body. If you have sensitive knees, hips, and/or ankle joints due to arthritis, inactivity, or increased body weight, then you will want to start out with activities such as swimming or biking that won't place any jarring stresses on your joints. Steer clear of activities that entail quick stops and turns like tennis, soccer and basketball.

How much exercise should you do? The answer depends on your goal. To improve your health, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people exercise at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes five or more days a week. If you are completely inactive now, it may take a few weeks or even months to achieve that level. Remember you don't have to exercise 30 minutes continuously. You can do 10 minutes in the morning, 10 at midday and 10 more at night.

If your goal is weight management, your aerobic exercise goal should be to slowly work up over a period of months to 60 minutes of exercise a day, five or more days a week. Your aerobic program should be supplemented by strength training (also called resistance or weight training) twice a week.

Whether your goal is better health or weight management, to get started check out the Shape Up America! Fitness Center While there, be sure to visit the Improvement Center to design your own program:

A Primer on Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity
Moderate-intensity physical activity refers to a level of effort in which a person experiences:

  • Some increase in breathing or heart rate
  • A "perceived exertion" of 11 to 14 on the Borg scale (the effort a healthy individual might expend while walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming, or bicycling on level terrain, for example).

Heart Rate

Heart rate can be used to define the intensity of physical activity. Since the maximum rate the heart beats each minute slows somewhat as we age, the definition of moderate-intensity activity, based on heart rate, must be adjusted for age.

Target Heart-Rate Range by Age (beats per minute)
Age 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 - 49 50 - 59 60 - 69 70 +
of *Maximum
Heart Rate
9590 85 80 75
of *Maximum
Heart Rate
160 152 144 136 128 120

* Maximum heart rate is estimated by subtracting your age from 220

For example, for a person between 40 and 49 years old, exercising hard enough to raise the heart rate to approximately 90 to 120 beats per minute is considered moderate intensity. Exercising at a level that raises the heart rate to about 121 to 144 beats per minute is considered vigorous intensity.

If you're beginning an aerobic activity program, it's probably best to aim for the low end of the heart rate range and work your way up in intensity as you become more fit. To monitor your pulse rate, find the artery at the base of your thumb or the side of your neck. Then place the first two fingers of your hand on the pulse and count the number of beats for 10 seconds. Multiply that number by 6 to get the beats per minute.


Moderate-intensity activity can also be defined in terms of the standard metabolic equivalent, or MET, level. This unit estimates the amount of oxygen used by the body during physical activity.

1 MET = the energy (oxygen) used by the body as you sit quietly, perhaps while talking on the phone or reading a book.

The harder your body works during the activity, the higher the MET.

  • Any activity that burns 3 to 6 METs is considered moderate intensity.
  • Any activity that burns ≥ 6 METs is considered vigorous intensity.


How many calories are burned during moderate-intensity activity? Any activity that burns 3.5 to 7 Calories per minute (kcal/min) is considered moderate-intensity activity. Any activity that burns more than 7 Calories per minute is considered vigorous.

For many examples of moderate and vigorous activities, go to:

Source: CDC website

My Story
Whether you have 10 pounds or 100 pounds to lose, slow and steady weight loss wins the race. Here, Diane and Brian show us how eating sensibly, being active and setting small, realistic goals helped them lose weight.

Diane's story: I weighed 185-187 pounds three months ago. I joined the gym and worked out an average of four to five days a week for an hour. I started out doing only 20-30 minutes. I have lost nine pounds. It seems like nine pounds is not enough for three months, but I guess that is to be expected. I have cut down on what I used to eat, like bread. I know that a person should not lose more than 8-10 pounds a month, so I have to say what I am doing is working - very slowly.

Brian's story: Two years ago I started my weight loss plan. I have gone from 330 pounds to 217 pounds. My goal is to lose one pound per week until I reach my ideal body weight. I will reach my goal of 185 pounds this year. To me, weight loss is like a war; sometimes I win the battle sometimes I lose, but I am winning the war. I am doing this through diet and exercise. The biggest thing that has helped me is I have given up fast food and increased my vegetable and fruit intake. Sometimes it is hard, especially around the holidays when there is so much temptation. To help myself, I just keep my eye on the goal I have set for myself. I just want to be healthy and happy; I want to be part of life instead of just watching it drift by me. I hope that one day I can inspire someone else to take this challenge and succeed. Just remember we all have setbacks, but just keep trying. Never give up, you can lose that weight.

If you would like to share your personal success story and be an inspiration to others who desire to lose weight, simple use our story submission system on the SUA website.

Recipe of the Month
Here's a fun and tasty recipe that kids and adults will enjoy. It combines pineapple, raisins and nuts with carrots and salad greens, for two cups of fruits and vegetables per serving.
Makes 4 servings


  • 4 cups Romaine salad mix
  • 1 20-oz. can pineapple chunks in 100% juice, drained (reserve juice)
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice, from canned pineapple chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Place 1 cup of Romaine salad mix on each of four salad plates. Spoon ¼ of drained pineapple chunks and ¼ cup shredded carrots in the middle of each salad bed.
  2. Top each salad with of the raisins and of the walnuts.
  3. In a small bowl, make dressing by combining mayonnaise, pineapple juice and cinnamon. Using a spoon, drizzle 2½ tablespoons of dressing over each salad and serve.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 252 calories, 9.4 grams total fat, 1.3 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 44 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams protein, 200 milligrams sodium.

Source: Produce for Better Health Foundation.
From the Cool Fuel Cookbook for Kids.

phone: 406-686-4844

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Editor: Adrienne Forman, MS, RD

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