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


Sleep and Obesity: Honoring Your Sleeping Ritual
If you find yourself dragging in the late afternoon, instead of reaching for a snack to boost your energy, ask yourself if you logged enough hours of sleep last night. Sleep researchers are discovering the biological value of getting enough sleep each night. Sufficient sleep is necessary for good health -- physical and academic performance and mental well-being – and it even plays a role in weight management.

Sleep requirements vary a great deal from person to person. Your sleeping habits may differ considerably from that of your spouse or significant other. But whatever your habits are, they should be carefully honored and treated as a special daily ritual – a ritual that is soothing and that sustains your peace of mind.

As a rule, children require much more sleep than adults. Young children should be put to bed by 8 PM, especially on school nights. Children do best with a regular sleep pattern that does not vary from day to day. Remember that the sleep requirements of your child are likely to be very different from yours. Your responsibility as a parent is to insure that a regular sleep pattern is maintained and that it sustains the physical and mental well-being of your child.

Many people suffer from disrupted sleep. The presence of the TV in the bedroom may be undermining your own sleep pattern or that of your child. This is yet another reason to remove the TV from the bedroom. To remedy an impaired sleep pattern, sleep researchers tell us to reserve your bed as a place only for sleep. When you crawl into bed, relax yourself with a few minutes of reading, listening to music, or whatever will help quiet your mind and prepare you for sleep. For children, a parent reading a few pages from a book can serve this purpose. If you can’t drop off to sleep or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, you are better off getting out of bed and engaging in a quiet activity until you are ready to go back to bed to sleep.

Once your nightly sleep ritual is established, make sure you and your family members safeguard it. This means getting all the family to respect their need for adequate sleep. Do not deviate from your daily sleep ritual and it will serve you well for the rest of your life.

Parent Coaching – A Source of Help for Stressed Out Parents
On October 14, 2005, Shape Up America! President, Barbara J. Moore, PhD, delivered a presentation in Washington DC at a conference on children’s health risks sponsored by the National Consumers League. In her remarks, Dr. Moore emphasized that rates of childhood obesity have tripled over the past 30 years and that as a consequence, for the first time, type 2 diabetes and other so-called “adult” diseases are becoming commonplace among children. Thirty years ago, childhood obesity was virtually unheard of. The suffering and needless expense of treating diabetes, hypertension and other diseases that now afflict children is entirely avoidable. Parents need to know that weight management can stop the progression of these diseases. Achieving a healthy weight-for-age through healthy eating, portion control and increased physical activity can reverse type 2 diabetes. Parents are the first and most important line of defense in the struggle to prevent childhood obesity. But parents need help in raising healthy children. Supporting parents is a responsibility which all of us share. After all, our children will be the future leaders, innovators and workers that sustain our economy and determine the fate of our communities and our nation.

Gloria DeGaetano is the CEO and Founder of the Parent Coaching Institute (PCI). Dr. Moore was a guest of PCI at a recent workshop held near Seattle, WA. Gloria is a dedicated professional of great integrity who is developing the highest possible standards for the parent coaching industry. If you would like to learn more about the role of parent coaches and how they can be helpful in raising healthy children, please visit the PCI website at http ://

Just the Facts, Ma’am! -- “Alcohol Facts” Labeling
Alcohol is “disinhibiting.” This means that when you consume alcohol, it acts on the brain centers that control your attitudes and behaviors. Alcohol can transform you from a shy person to an extrovert, or a person with two left feet into a dancer. But unfortunately, it can transform a dieter into a binger or a moderate eater into an overeater. Alcohol can unmask these behaviors by lifting inhibitions that are keeping these behaviors in check. Consequently, dieters are often encouraged not to drink alcoholic beverages at all.

For some people, drinking is dangerous and should be avoided altogether. But national surveys show that the majority of Americans drink alcoholic beverages. So here at Shape Up America! we believe those of you who drink need the facts about calories and alcohol content to guide you when you choose to drink. Alcoholic beverages are virtually the only products left in the marketplace that lack informative labeling information. This is a dangerous situation as two thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese.

In a letter sent to the TTB,* Shape Up America! has asked that an “Alcohol Facts” panel be added to the label of every alcohol-containing beverage sold in America. The letter suggests that the label contain additional information in a standardized format:

  • The serving size (i.e., 12 fluid ounces (fl oz) for beer, 5 fl oz for wine, and 1.5 fl oz for distilled spirits)
  • The amount of alcohol (in fluid ounces per serving)
  • The percentage alcohol by volume
  • The definition of a “standard drink”
  • The number of standard drinks per container
  • A summary of the recommendation contained in The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, which defines moderate drinking as no more than 2 drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

Over the past two months, dozens of health and nutrition organizations have written to the TTB with substantially the same recommendation as that offered by Shape Up America! As we reported in a press conference on October 12, 2005, Shape Up America! conducted a top-line review of the letters posted to the TTB Web site as of October 5, 2005. Of the 18,626 letters TTB posted, 17,876 were in support of additional labeling for alcoholic beverages. Interestingly, the majority of letters NOT supporting alcohol facts labeling were from the industry itself -- which does not necessarily want consumers to know how to compare one alcohol-containing beverage to another. In stark contrast to this position, Shape Up America! favors arming consumers with the information they need for weight management. Hopefully, for consumers who choose to drink, but who wish to moderate their calorie and alcohol intake, alcohol facts labeling will soon be here.

* The TTB is the “Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau” – the federal agency responsible for the labeling and advertising of alcohol-containing beverages.

The Surgeon General Supports Healthy Weight Loss
U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona has developed a public service announcement (PSA) that will begin airing this month. It reminds Americans that as the nation’s doctor, the Surgeon General’s job is to protect the health and well-being of all Americans. Dr. Carmona urges overweight Americans to “...remember that HOW you diet is as important to your health as losing weight. Rather than trying the latest fad, choose a weight-loss program that will lead to long term weight loss.”

With fad diets, the one thing you WILL lose is your money! Here are some of the tell- tale signs of a fad diet:

  1. “Lose 10 Pounds Overnight” -- A fad diet will promise large amounts of weight loss in an unrealistically short amount of time. This is dangerous.
  2. “Burn Fat While You Sleep” -- A fad diet will promise to burn fat or “melt away the pounds,” even while you sleep. This is just nonsense.
  3. “Easy” – A fad diet will claim to be easy, requiring no effort on your part. But the fact is, a diet requires work. Even the best diet will only work if you do, so don’t be fooled when someone tells you it is easy.
  4. “New Breakthrough Discovery!” – A fad diet will try to convince you that there is a brand new scientific weight loss discovery and all you have to do is purchase some new pills to lose weight. Don’t fall for it!

What does a GOOD DIET look like?

  1. It will teach you that CALORIES COUNT – that obesity is a matter of eating too many calories and expending too few calories in physical activity. To lose weight you have to eat less and move more.
  2. It will teach you PORTION CONTROL – how to eat less without feeling deprived.
  3. It will teach you how to avoid EMOTIONAL EATING.
  4. It will teach you how to choose a nutritious, well balanced diet that includes ALL FOOD GROUPS.
  5. It will teach you how to MANAGE ALL FOODS – including the foods that undermine your willpower or cause bingeing.
  6. It will motivate you to become PHYSICALLY ACTIVE on a regular basis, especially for successful, long term weight maintenance.
  7. It will teach you how to MONITOR YOURSELF – regular weigh-ins and keeping a food diary from time to time.
  8. It will teach you how to REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT -- help you learn new habits and new ways of relating to people that will support and promote successful, long term weight maintenance.

Look for the televised public service announcement featuring Dr. Carmona that is airing on stations near you this fall. Please visit http://www. for more information.

Flu Season Is Fast Approaching...
Obesity is associated with respiratory problems including asthma, sleep apnea and COPD. Consequently, you or someone in your family may be at increased risk for the flu. The following information is being offered at the request of the American Lung Association:

The American Lung Association is offering a 2005 Flu Shot Clinic Locator webpage, http://www.flu If you would like to locate a clinic, simply go to this webpage and enter your zip code. You will be provided with a list of clinics in your area. You will also be able to schedule a flu vaccine reminder and get other important flu-related information. Please contact Charles Forsyth if you need any further information or if you have questions. He can be reached via email at or by phone at (541) 284-4343.

Jack O' Lantern
phone: 240-715-3900

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