Shape Up America!
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 Shape Up America! Newsletter . Real Help for Real People 
September/October 2004 
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Greetings!

If you are part of a group, organization, or community participating in an effort to promote increased activity please share the news with us so that we can share it with the world!

In this issue
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  • Preventing Childhood Obesity - Shape Up America! Conference Proceedings to appear in Pediatrics in October, 2004
  • Preventing Childhood Obesity - What Works???
  • CHILD HEALTH IN THE BALANCE
  • NEWS YOU CAN USE FROM OUR MEMBERS
  • GIVE US A HELPING HAND!

  • Preventing Childhood Obesity - What Works???
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    Here are two prevention strategies have been linked to improvements in the body weight of children:

    Decrease TV and all recreational screen time to less than two hours a day. Since parents are influential role models for children, for proper implementation of this rule, parents may need to limit their own TV viewing and may need to move the TV out of all bedrooms so that viewing time can be closely monitored.

    Increase vigorous physical activity of children to a minimum of 60 minutes each day (some studies found 75 or 90 minutes of daily activity was effective in reducing body fat in older children). Activity in very young children should not be continuous and should include plenty of unstructured play, preferably outdoors.

    Reducing soda consumption may be an effective strategy to reduce body fat, but the studies published to date have problems. The research on soda consumption is continuing

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    CHILD HEALTH IN THE BALANCE
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    Major Report on Preventing Childhood Obesity to be Released by the Institute of Medicine on September 30, 2004.

    Former U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, founded Shape Up America! in 1994 to raise awareness of obesity as a health issue. The health consequences of obesity for adults and children alike is now "front and center" in the minds of the majority of Americans largely as a consequence of the initiatives and investments of Shape Up America! over the past ten years. Shape Up America! will be celebrating its tenth anniversary on December 6, 2004.

    We believe our next ten years should be focused on the prevention of obesity, especially in children. Throughout 2003 and 2004, Shape Up America! President and CEO, Dr. Barbara J. Moore, served on a committee appointed by the Institute of Medicine that generated this landmark, evidence-based, comprehensive report on the prevention of childhood obesity. Entitled, "Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance," we believe this report is the equivalent of the Surgeon General's 1964 landmark report on the health effects of smoking. Health in the Balance can and should influence parents and all caregivers of children and will help to change the values and behavior of all segments of our society.

    Health in the Balance is a blueprint for action. It is comprehensive and includes recommendations for specific actions to be taken by: Parents - who serve first and foremost as role models for children and also as policymakers in the home Schools - which educate as much by what they feed and how they feed our children as by what they teach them about nutrition and physical activity. Schools are being called upon to make annual measurements of height and weight and to monitor the BMI of children and to improve the quality and quantity of physical education. Communities - which support children with activities and programs and organizations that support physical activity and healthy eating. Our communities are being called upon to provide sidewalks and parks and a police force and other community organizations that protect children and keep them safe so they can play outside. Health care professionals - who should properly guide, monitor, evaluate and keep track of the growth of children over time Political leaders and policymakers - who can influence community, industry and workplace programs and policies that influence how parents are supported and how children are nurtured

    NEWS YOU CAN USE FROM OUR MEMBERS
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    Carol from Missouri reports: "on Sunday mornings for a local TV station, we share a healthy recipe that has few ingredients, low in fat and calories, and is overall healthy and fun. The recipes are also posted on the network's web page it is very popular, and has drawn a lot of local interest." Carol works for the Missouri University Extension which is doing some wonderful work in schools: "We have a curriculum for every grade level. This helps the teachers because we do a series of 7-11 lessons. Each lesson is a food and nutrition lesson, hands on, and delivered with a snack at the end. The snack piece is always tied to the lesson. The snack is easy and nutritious. We also make sure that they get a recipe to send home. We also teach food safety and the importance of exercise. We try to have some easy exercises that they can do at some point in our lessons. We have been doing this for the past eight to ten years. The success with our teachers and students has been awesome. This is a free program to the schools. Teachers do have to be in the classroom but their involvement is usually minimal. My teachers are always commenting about how much their children have learned about nutrition. In fact, even the teachers usually report changes in their eating behaviors after I have come. Many of my students I have taught since kindergarten. They remember me and enjoy these classes so much. I love it when they come in and tell me that they have been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables or that their parents are waiting for the next recipe to come home. We also send newsletters home to the parents with additional information about foods, recipes and things they can do with their children for more physical activity." [NOTE: Every state in the U.S. has an Extension Service and many are establishing programs like this. If your family has school-aged children, we encourage you to inquire with your state's Extension Service.]

    We also heard from Leslie in Massachusetts: "I am the wellness coordinator for [our company] in Westwood, MA. Last month we initiated the 10K-A-Day Activity Program. To kick off the program, we had a "Walk Out of Work Day" where everyone was encouraged to go out and walk 1.5 miles as part of the registration process. We gave all participants a pedometer (with step counting ability), a water bottle, and a 365 day walking log. The program is running all summer 10 weeks and we are asking everyone to log their steps for 5 of seven days a week for at least 8 weeks. To keep everyone on track, they turn in a coupon every other week with the steps logged and become eligible to win raffle prizes- t-shirts, visors, sunblock, walking shoes and socks. I also put information on health, nutrition and activity on our intranet every week. The grand prize is an Apple iPod MP3 player. We had 73% join the program and after four weeks we still have almost 50% turning in the coupons. The best part is that everyone is talking about how many steps it takes to do this or that. They are comparing how many steps they take and try to get bragging rights. Most of all this program has done so much to raise the awareness of the amount of activity needed for better health and the surprise at what their levels were to begin with. The program has been embraced at all levels of the company and the wellness committee is getting praise from all." [Note: If you are interested in starting your own walking program, visit the Shape Up America! online store to purchase the pedometers, walking logs and more.]

    Great Deals on Bulk Pedometers »

    GIVE US A HELPING HAND!
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    Every day we are contacted by many people or groups that would like to be able to distribute motivational materials in areas of the country that are at an economic disadvantage.

    Shape Up America! is a non-profit organization and we are limited by the availability of sponsors, grants, and donations from people just like you.

    Help us meet these people's needs by purchasing materials marked "for donation" on the comment area of the order form, or simply by donating any amount that is comfortable to you.

    We will publish on future newsletters and also on our web site groups or people that have received goods thanks to your generosity. Also, if you are part of a group in need, please email to us your request so that we can let the world know your needs!

    Donate To Shape Up America! Now »

    Preventing Childhood Obesity - Shape Up America! Conference Proceedings to appear in Pediatrics in October, 2004


    The prevention of childhood obesity begins prior to conception. Many factors that influence appetite and the development of obesity take place years before the child starts kindergarten. Women of child bearing years are encouraged to eat a balanced healthy diet that delivers all essential vitamins and minerals, especially the essential vitamin - folic acid. The folate status of a woman at the point of conception will have a significant impact on her baby's brain development including the portion of the brain and nervous system that relates to the regulation of food intake and a healthy body weight.

    In addition to healthy eating and a more active lifestyle, breastfeeding is another important choice that parents make that can help prevent obesity. For many reasons, including obesity prevention, breast milk is the best food for babies up to six months of age. At that point, parents should begin to slowly introduce cereals and other foods one at a time. Although supplemental foods are introduced, it is recommended that partial breastfeeding continue until the child is one year old.

    To increase awareness of some of these issues and to stimulate more research, Shape Up America! organized and hosted an international conference on the prevention of childhood obesity held in Washington DC in December of 2003. That conference focused on the critical developmental period for the regulation of appetite that begins prior to conception and continues throughout pregnancy, infancy and the pre-school years. On October 4, less than one year later, we celebrate the publication of a special supplement to the journal, Pediatrics, which describes the proceedings of that conference. We hope this timely supplement will stimulate more research into parenting skills, family dynamics, the introduction of new foods, and other developmental factors that promote appropriate self- regulation of food intake and energy balance in very young children.

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