Special Halloween Edition

Don't Eat Too Much Candy!

     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2006 issue 10.5



A Scary Children's Story

Making fitness a priority in your life is not just for adults but should include children and youths as well.  Take a close look at the following information from a recent survey.

  • 60 percent of children do not meet average fitness standards.

  • Children today expend four times less energy than children 40 years ago.

  • Approximately 40 percent of children already have at least one risk factor for heart disease and that is because of reduced fitness due to an inactive lifestyle.

  • In Grade two, one out of four children cannot touch their toes.

  • 76 percent of elementary school girls and 26 percent of boys cannot do one chin up.

  • Half of all teenage boys and three-quarters of all teenage girls cannot walk up and down stairs for longer than six minutes, without straining their cardiovascular system.

  • Twelve year old children drink an average of two and half cans of soda a day and eat on average one out of three meals per day away from the family home.

  • The North American diet today contains 31 percent more fats and 43 percent less complex carbohydrates than it did in 1900.

  • Children do 75 percent less exercise today compared with children 100 years ago.

  • An Obese preschooler has a 25 percent chance of becoming an obese adult, and an obese teenager has a 75 percent chance of remaining obese for life.  20 percent of today's children and teens who are overweight, are overweight enough that it will threaten their future health.

  • Between 1960 and 1980 obesity rates in North American children six to eleven years old increased 54 percent, and Super Obesity rates rose 98 per cent.

Be Active! The level of activity for children doesn't even come close to meeting the bare minimum necessary for Good Health. Physical education classes (if they do have them) are at best 30 minutes twice a week and only 25% of North American School high school students participate in them. 

They spend the rest of their time sitting in class, watching television, playing with computers, video and board games or simply reading. They get bussed to school and driven to and from their friends houses.

In the early 1980's, while adults got hooked on the fitness craze, children's fitness actually started to decline. In fact muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility of children between the ages of ten and fourteen dropped by up to 25 percent. You should also note that no matter how much milk your child drinks, the Calcium (which is necessary for growing bones) will not get into those growing bones without regular weight bearing activity. (walking . . . skipping . . . running).  A child should be active for at least one hour per day doing some sort of physical activity. 
Sorry... I know the statistics can be scary or even shocking, but information can be a good thing if it is used properly.   

Cook Healty Meals!

Lead by example, eat right, participate in active games as a family, and involve your kids in sports or other forms of exercise.  It is our responsibility to educate and provide healthy guidance to the next generation!


Healthy Halloween Candy?

Dark Chocolates are an excellent source of antioxidants. Try to buy individually packaged small chocolates in any shapes! Just because it's Halloween doesn't mean that you need to actually buy candy or chocolate made specifically for halloween. As long as the chocolates are individually packaged, you can dress them up later with some colorful orange ribbons. You'll find that decorating an existing package will be even more fun, and keep in mind that these healthy chocolates will not come cheap. But kids will understand once they taste the purity of the halloween candy that: good things come in small packages.

Scare D. Cat

So what exactly is the difference between a healthy chocolate and a a normal chocolate bar you might buy anywhere? The difference is in the ingredients of course: bad chocolate is filled with things other than chocolate. The best chocolates are those made up mostly of pure dark chocolate. If the label of chocolate says it contains any of the following, do not buy it: milk, sugar, wax, oil, syrup, or any extremely complicated names. That's usually a sign that there's something fishy going on with the quality of this chocolate. Think about this: chocolate companies are making a killing by filling what people think is chocolate with a bunch of other products like wax, sugar, milk and other ingredients that are inexpensive fillers.

It should read: "Get Ripped"!


Elite Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!

Oblique Crunch

Well, you can't really see my friends knees to the side, but you get the idea!  The oblique crunch is a good crunch exercise that isolates the oblique muscles on the side of your abdomen.  A great exercise to incorporate into your ab routine!

Sides and Midsection (obliques and rectus abdominus)

Count:  2 count

Description:  Starting position lying flat on your back with your knees bent and to the side.  With your hand behind your head, crunch both shoulders off the floor and return to starting position.  Click here for a better picture.

Controlling the Halloween Monsters

What may be the most frightening to you at Halloween is not ghosts or goblins but the thought of what all that candy can do to your kids' health and teeth.  For health-conscious parents, Halloween can be tricky. Do you set limits? Do you let kids decide how much to eat? There isn't just one right answer. Instead, use your best judgment given what you know about your child's personality and eating habits. 

Kids who generally eat just a couple of pieces and save the rest might be trusted to decide how much to eat. But if your child tends to overdo it, consider setting limits.

Here are some more tips for handling the Halloween treats:

  • Before kids go trick-or-treating, try to serve a healthy meal so they're not hungry when the candy starts coming in. This will prevent sugar highs and nasty upset tummies!

  • Know how much candy your child has collected and store it somewhere other than the child's room. Having it so handy can be an irresistible temptation for many kids.

  • Consider being somewhat lenient about candy eating on Halloween, within reason, and talk about how the rest of the candy will be handled. Candy and snacks shouldn't get in the way of kids eating healthy meals.

  • If a child is overweight or you'd just like to reduce the Halloween stash consider buying back some or all of the remaining Halloween candy. This acknowledges the candy belongs to the child and provides a treat in the form of a little spending money.

  • Be a role model by eating Halloween candy in moderation yourself. To help avoid temptation, buy your candy at the last minute and get rid of any leftovers.

  • Encourage your child to be mindful of the amount of candy and snacks eaten and to stop before feeling full or sick.

You also can offer some alternatives to candy to the trick-or-treaters who come to your door. Here are some treats to think about giving out:

  • Non-food treats, like stickers, toys, temporary tattoos, false teeth, little bottles of bubbles and small games, like tiny decks of cards (party-supply stores can be great sources for these)

  • Snacks such as small bags of pretzels, sugar-free gum, trail mix, small boxes of raisins, and popcorn

  • Sugar-free candy

  • Small boxes of cereal or cereal bars.

Try to avoid or limit these unhealthy snacks:

  • Sticky treats like gummy candies, jelly beans, raisins and caramels are bad for dental health.

  • Full-sized candy bars. Some chocolate bars contain high amounts of saturated fat. The worst offenders are Mounds , Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar and Almond Joy.

  • Chips Ahoy!, Oreos, Hostess HOHOs and other snack cakes, Keebler Club & Cheddar Sandwich Crackers, and Starburst Fruit Chews were all voted the worst vending machine snacks for kids by Center for Science in the Public Interest.

But remember that Halloween, like other holidays, is a single day on the calendar. If your family eats sensibly during the rest of the year, it will have a more lasting impact than a few days of overindulgence.

It's Go Time!

"Everything in moderation"  This pertains to more than just halloween, but still holds true at this time.  The bottom line is to be smart and don't over-indulge.  This goes for both kids and adults.  Hey, if you have or are going to, spend all that time trying to get into shape and be healthier, you better be prepared to jump right back into it after stuffing your face with all that sugar and fat!

The children just have different priorities so it's our job to provide both guidance and education when it comes to nutrition and exercise.  Are you being a good role model for them?  Kids see right through the "do as I say, not as I do" attitude, so if you want to make an impact... start with yourself.  Health and fitness can be contagious especially when you are a parent!

For prior issues of this newsletter go to www.todayfitness.net/news.  

Good Luck!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT


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