Shape Up America!
 Shape Up America! Newsletter . Real Help For Real People 
October 2002 
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Fall is here...and we are all tempted to sit cozy around a fireplace. But there is no better time to implement smart and realistic fitness goals as today.

In this spirit, we hope that you will enjoy our tips and information on getting fit, or maintaining your fitness.

In this issue
  • How Much Exercise is Enough???
  • Quick Tip - Dog Walking for Weight Control
  • Support Somebody You Love With This Gift!
  • Toxic Trends - Overweight and Smoking
  • Childhood Obesity - It Takes a Family

  • Quick Tip - Dog Walking for Weight Control
    Does your lifestyle permit you to have a pet? One way to develop a healthier lifestyle is to take on the responsibility of a dog that has to be walked each day, twice a day. Dogs develop overweight and heart problems just like humans do. They require daily exercise to stay heart healthy. You will keep your dog trim and healthy by taking your dog on long daily walks and you will find that this routine will help keep YOU trim and healthy as well. If you take your dog out for a 4 to 5 mile walk each day you will discover that weight control will be easier and you will experience other benefits as well.

    There is solid scientific evidence that caring for a pet is an antidote to depression and daily exercise is a mood enhancer as well. Taking care of your pet with two 30 minute walks a day is another way of taking good care of yourself - both mentally and physically. Here's another tip: If boredom on your walk is a problem, try using Books on Tape to keep yourself entertained. You will enjoy your walk more and both you and your pet will be healthier and happier.

    Visit our site for more information! »

    Support Somebody You Love With This Gift!

    This beautifully designed gift basket contains everything that you need to get started or continue developing healthy fitness habits. What a great gift for the holidays right around the corner!

    The basket includes: Treklinq Pedometer, The Asian Diet Cookbook, Healthy Weight, Healthy Living, Eating Smart, Fitting Fitness In, On Your Way To Fitness, 10,000 Steps Program, and the Beautiful Basket Shape Up America! members get a 10% discount!

    To order your basket go here! »

    Toxic Trends - Overweight and Smoking
    A May 2002 report from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) warns that too many people aged 50 and over are carrying around excess weight. Smoking rates are declining in folks in this age group, but they are packing on the pounds. Smoking is one way to introduce poisons - toxic substances - directly into your lungs, and from your lungs these toxins pass immediately into your bloodstream. As you assault your entire body with these poisons, your body's defenses kick into action and the result is an INCREASE in your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories. Smoking causes an increase in that rate. That explains why smokers tend to be thinner but they get sicker and die at a younger age than nonsmokers.

    When you quit smoking, your body is able to lower its defenses. Thus, with smoking cessation there is a small DECREASE in your metabolic rate -- which can cause a weight gain of 10-12 pounds. This weight gain is entirely avoidable if you take steps to compensate. Here is what you need to know:

    If you have quit smoking or are planning to, you don't have to gain weight. Become a member of Shape Up America! and visit the Shape Up America! CYBERKitchen for a crash course in energy balance. The CYBERKitchen will help you assess your daily calorie needs and will also help you take off a few pounds while eating REAL FOOD. Physical activity will help you take your mind off the stress of quitting. It will also help you ward off the tendency to gain weight. You can design a comprehensive program of physical activity to help you avoid weight gain in the Shape Up America! Fitness Center. THE SOLUTION: When you quit smoking, to avoid the weight gain, you can take steps to compensate - literally. The Shape Up America! 10,000 steps program is a great way to help you decrease the stress of quitting while at the same time increasing the calories you burn each day. The benefit is you avoid the weight gain associated with quitting smoking and you are very likely to produce some weight loss as a dividend. These positive effects will reinforce your commitment to smoking cessation -- so it is a way to double your winnings.

    Take Action, Become A Member! »

    Childhood Obesity - It Takes a Family
    (The following article contains excerpts from the Shape Up America! Parent's Guide to the Assessment and Treatment of the Overweight Child. The entire Parent's Guide is available on the Shape Up America! website - - and is available free to members or for a small fee to non-members)

    You may have heard that when a child is too fat, the risk of diabetes looms like a dark cloud that threatens the health of the overweight child. For the first time in history, 8 year old children are suffering from "Diabesity" - obesity-induced type 2 diabetes. What is just as upsetting, overweight children are subjected to ridicule and teasing from their friends and schoolmates. It is not surprising that nearly one third of these children are depressed. What steps can you take to protect the mental and physical health and well being of your children? How do you know if your child is overweight? Unlike assessment of obesity in adults, the assessment of overweight in children is NOT simple or straightforward. It is important to keep in mind that some children are simply large for their age rather than overly fat. The correct assessment of a child is vitally important to the child's health and emotional well being.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a set of growth charts that are used to evaluate the growth of children. Your child's pediatrician will know how to use these charts. Growth assessments every year are important for your child. The CDC now offers new growth charts that are used for the purpose of assessing your child's weight status. The charts utilize the Body Mass Index or BMI, which is calculated after careful measurements of your child's height and weight. The BMI is not used directly in children as it is in adults. A child's BMI is considered relative to that of other children of the same age and gender. Your pediatrician will know how to measure your child and determine the correct gender- and age-specific BMI percentile. If you are concerned about the possibility that your child may be overweight or obese, gender- and age-specific BMI Percentile is essential information for assessing the weight status of your child.

    The BMI percentile for your child will tell you how your child's BMI compares to other children of the same age and gender. If you have a boy who is 8 years old and his BMI falls at the 60th percentile, that means that 40% -- that is, 40 out of 100 -- 8 year old boys have a higher BMI than your boy, and 60% -- that is, 60 out of 100 - 8 year old boys have a lower BMI than your child. If you know your child's BMI percentile, you know how to compare your child's BMI to the BMI of other children the same age and gender. If a child's BMI falls at the 95th percentile or higher, the child meets the definition of "overweight," but this definition of overweight is not perfect since the child may be large rather than fat. A more definitive assessment of overweight can only be done by your child's pediatrician or other qualified health professional who repeatedly evaluates your child in person. A child who falls between the 85th and 95th BMI percentiles is considered to be "at risk for overweight" and should be closely monitored by a pediatrician or other qualified pediatric health professional. A child who consistently tracks at a lower BMI percentile but suddenly jumps up to a much higher percentile may be at risk also and requires monitoring. At this time, there is no accepted definition of "obesity" in children. Few clinics can measure body fat in children and accepted standards of body fat in children are not yet available. So, from a practical standpoint, it is not appropriate to categorize a child as "obese." Moreover, calling a child "obese" may be harmful in that it stigmatizes a child and may hurt his or her feelings. Using names that make an overweight child feel even worse is not helpful and should be avoided. What to do if your child is overweight will be published on our November issue.

    More on this topic »

    How Much Exercise is Enough???

    The answer depends on whether your goal is weight management or improved health. In 1996, the U. S. Surgeon General issued a report on Physical Activity and Health. In that report, the Surgeon General recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day for the purpose of improving your health. The Surgeon General's recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity a day is indeed a health enhancing recommendation. However, for most people, 30 minutes of activity a day is insufficient for weight management

    The Institute of Medicine (referred to as the "IOM") issued a report in September 2002 that sets new recommendations for calories and other components of the daily diet that are based on how active you are. But we know that very few Americans are "Active" and close to 65% of the American people are either completely inactive or nearly so. How much activity do you have to engage in each day In order to consider yourself "Active"? The IOM says that "60 minutes of daily moderate intensity physical activity (e.g., walking/jogging at 4 to 5 MPH) is recommended, in addition to the activities required by a sedentary lifestyle."

    What exactly does that recommendation mean? First, it recognizes that there is at least some activity associated with living a sedentary lifestyle. The IOM is recommending that you accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity is ON TOP OF your customary activities associated with living a sedentary life. To meet the recommendation, you could go for a walk or perhaps several walks to accumulate a total of 60 minutes of EXTRA activity each day.

    Second, the recommendation is for exercise of "moderate intensity." For walking, that means you should walk at a pace that is approximately 4 to 5 miles per hour. If you walk for 60 minutes at that pace, you will cover a distance of somewhere between 4 and 5 miles. Remember, you don't need to do all of your walking at one time. You can break it up if that is more convenient. If you dislike walking and prefer biking or some other activity instead, a "moderate" level of intensity would be one you would consider to be "somewhat hard." Some people think of moderate intensity to be a level that allows you to talk, but would not allow you to sing as you do the activity. In other words, if you can sing, you need to pick up the pace and work a little harder until you find you can still talk, but can't sing.

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