May 25 2011

American Fitness Index – 2011. How Fit is Your City? Graehm Gray

The 2011 American Fitness Index (AFI) report was released this week by the American College of Sports Medicine. Meant as a report of the Health and Community Fitness Status of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, the AFI was developed in 2008 as a measure of the fitness of various cities and communities across the United States, using “ a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access, as well as community resources and polices that support physical activity, “and allows officials, residents and potential residents to see the health statistics in their community. This can help identify ways to improve the health and “quality of life and well-being” of the residents of that particular community. In addition to the fitness components of the community, violent crime statistics are also shown for each community. The index uses the 50 largest metropolitan areas of the United States as determined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (from data supplied by the U.S. Census). High AFI scores indicates “strong community fitness,” and are analogous to an individual’s strong personal commitment to physical fitness. Low scores can be interpreted as the reverse. So let’s go to the results and see where your city’s fitness ranks: 2011 Rank/ City/ 2010 Rank 1 Minneapolis, MN -3 2 Washington, DC - 1 3 Boston, MA - 2 4 Portland, OR - 5 5 Denver, CO - 6 6 San ...

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Sep 11 2010

Childhood Obesity Definitions-Part Three: Graehm Gray

Despite many efforts, the obesity epidemic persists. Adults and kids are getting heavier every minute. Continuing my goal to allow us all to understand the problems associated with childhood obesity, I am now presenting part three of the Childhood Obesity Series* on definitions. Parts One and Two have explained some basic terms that we all read and hear daily. I would call them buzz words that so many of us in the press use to convey our messages. Now we need to increase the size of our lexicon to include more advanced terminology and explanations in order for us to arrive at a solution:  1 - Five a Day* We have been told that we need a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Most research shows that fruits and vegetables are vital to promoting good health. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. To get the amount that's ...

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Jun 27 2010

Graehm Gray: Kellogg’s Recalls Corn Pops, Honey Smacks, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks!

Here we go again, fresh off the SpaghettiOs recall, the Kellogg Company of Battle Creek- Michigan, (working with the FDA) voluntarily has recalled selected packages of several popular breakfast cereals due to “ an uncharacteristic off-flavor and smell coming from the liner of the package.” The products affected have the letters “KN” following the Better If Used Before Date. Products in Canada are not affected and those products with the “KM” designation are not affected. Here are the exact product numbers and specifications: Kellogg's® Apple Jacks® UPC 3800039136 1: 17 ounce package with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 10 2011 and JUN 22 2011 UPC 3800039132 3: 8.7 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between JUN 03 2011 and JUN 22 2011 Kellogg's® Corn Pops® UPC 3800039109 5: 12.5 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011 UPC 3800039111 8: 17.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN 22 2011 UPC 3800039116 3: 9.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between APR 05 2011 and JUN 22 2011 Kellogg's® Froot Loops® UPC 3800039118 7: 12.2 ounce packages with Better if Used Before Dates between MAR 26 2011 and JUN ...

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Jun 09 2010

Graehm Gray: Your Child Needs 60 Minutes of Exercise Everyday!

Did you know that in the latest guidelines (Dietary Guidelines for Americans), all children (from preschool through age 18) should be physically active and get 60 (sixty) minutes of exercise/physical activity each and every day? Well it’s true. This exercise or activity does not have to be only from sports, but also can come from walking and playing (a.k.a. recess). And the exercise does not have to be done all at once. You can break it up into several periods throughout the day- for example: 6-ten minute episodes or 4- fifteen minute episodes. Parenting tip#1: according to many studies, kids (and adults too) that are physically active have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, type-2 diabetes, elevated BMI, stroke, coronary artery disease, colon cancer, osteoporosis elevated blood fats, elevated blood pressure and elevated insulin levels. On the other end of the spectrum, kids that are not active and are sedentary (e.g. sit in front of the TV or computer) have a much higher risk of developing chronic  diseases like overweight, obesity, coronary artery disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. Parenting tip #2: If you eat 100 more food calories a day than you burn, you'll gain about 1 pound in a month. That's about 12 pounds in a year.  Here is a chart that shows the calories (units of energy) ...

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Jun 02 2010

Graehm Gray: Breakfast-The Most Important Meal of the Day! Start your day off with low fat, high quality protein!

No matter what show I watch where they are making breakfast, from the Food Channel, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel or even my local T.V. stations morning shows, the most common ingredient is eggs. Scrambled, poached, hardboiled or simply egg whites, I can always count on watching the guest chef come up with his or her own variation. Adding a piece of chicken breast, Canadian bacon or salmon, maybe an original Bernaise sauce (traditionally made with egg yolks, butter, tarragon, shallots, chervil), and completing the plating with a small fresh salad and a bit of fresh fruit. That’s good stuff! Of course I also see the eggs used in making waffles, pancakes, crepes, breads, muffins and pastries. And Americans love their “hearty” breakfasts. But the common theme that I have been taught, from an early age, is to start your day with protein. Now you all know what protein is-don’t you? I am talking about eggs, nuts, seeds, meats, fish, poultry, beans, and plant products like tofu. They all contain the building blocks of life-the amino acids. But there are many places in the world that start with a carbohydrate-like cereal or oatmeal. I remember reading many articles about the health benefits of oats and whole grains. To this day, many studies (Lu Qi et. al. Circulation, May 25, 2010) indicate that people that eat cereal have a reduced risk ...

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May 29 2010

Graehm Gray: “Take Ten!” Ten Minutes of Exercise Is The New 30!

I have always felt that doing some type of physical activity is important. In fact my cardiologist, who is really my primary care doctor,  and is truly a fantastic doctor, has always advised me that if you can spare ten minutes-take it and do something, do anything, but do it for ten minutes. Of course he also said that it’s better to do the exercise for 30, 60-or even 90 minutes a day, but ten minutes is good too! I read all of the exercise recommendations for kids and adults from the different organizations and don’t feel that they are addressing the American public. For people that work, time is money. Now that’s not an excuse. It’s the truth. Some people wake up at, well let’s just say darn early and have to be at work early! Stay all day at work, come home and if they don’t have a second job that they have to go to, their second job begins at home. Take care of the kids, go food shopping, prepare dinner, clean the house, write checks for the endless bills that come in, clean clothes or even take care of elderly parents. It doesn’t stop. And now, the exercise recommendations come along that say to exercise for 30-60 or 90 minutes a day. Oh, let’s not forget the nutrition recommendations that we should follow: eat five servings ...

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May 25 2010

American Fitness Index-How Fit Is Your City? Graehm Gray

It’s that time a year, my friends, where we all find out if we live in a “fit” or “non fit” city. The 2010 American Fitness Index (AFI), sponsored by The American College Of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Wellpoint Foundation is now officially out and we all can see the areas of the country that are considered fit and those that are, well, at the other end of the spectrum-“least fit.” Developed in 2007, this AFI Report is a measure of the fitness of various cities and communities across the United States, using “  a composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access, as well as community resources and polices that support physical activity, “and allows officials, residents and potential residents to see the health statistics in their community. This can help identify ways to improve the health and “quality of life and well-being” of the residents of that particular community. In addition to the fitness components of the community, violent crime statistics are also shown for each community. The index uses the 50 largest metropolitan areas of the United States as determined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (from data supplied by the U.S. Census). Regular physical activity is important to your health by decreasing risks of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and depression and helps improve muscles and joints. Exercise is fundamental ...

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Apr 08 2010

Is the “No Child Left Behind Act” Contributing to Childhood Obesity?

By Lisa Garner  Will this generation of American children be the first ever not to live as long as their parents, or do American schools still have time to intervene before it’s too late? Under the No Child Left Behind Act, many schools have had to cut back or eliminate physical education and health programs to accommodate an increase in academic time to help prepare students for mandated standardized testing. However, research suggests that children who are physically active and well nourished actually perform better on standardized tests than their counterparts who received more academic class time. As a result of implementing physical activity and proper nutrition back into our schools, there would be no child left behind, and we’d be giving them the opportunity to get fit and able to learn for a lifetime.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overweight children have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese as adults and face higher risks for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Obese children are also at risk for developing social and psychological problems which may require additional counseling services. As of 2008, the medical costs for treating obesity-related diseases alone soared to a staggering $147 billion dollars which is placing more financial burdens on an already crippled economy.    Research suggests that overeating and lack of physical activity ...

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Apr 08 2010

GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT – A Kid’s Guide To Food And Nutrition – Author: Lizzy Rockwell

A Book Review by Lisa Garner   Writer and illustrator, Lizzy Rockwell, has whipped up a delicious kid’s guide to proper nutrition and healthy eating which is just plain “Good Enough to Eat.” Packed full of colorful illustrations, facts, experiments, and recipes, Rockwell does an outstanding job of linking the basic principles of proper nutrition directly to the human body. Designed to satisfy a child’s curiosity about their body and how it works, Good Enough to Eat presents basic nutrition facts in a kid friendly, easy to understand format which is perfect for reading at home or school.   An appetizing blend of  factual information, recipes, and fun hands-on experiments,  Good Enough to Eat satisfies a child’s hunger to learn about proper nutrition with bright lively illustrations, informational speech bubbles and text, and a diverse group of  children who navigate their way through the complexity of  anatomy and physiology to learn the relevance behind the food pyramid and how it applies to their bodies.  The inside covers of the book are adorned with meticulous illustrations of the five food groups and the proper serving sizes for each. With every turn of the page, children will learn more information about the foods they eat.  Ÿ  What is the digestive system and how does it work? Ÿ  What is the food pyramid and why is it important to follow it? Ÿ  What vitamins, minerals, and nutrients do certain foods contain? Ÿ  ...

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Feb 17 2010

Graehm Gray-President Obama To Target Childhood Obesity

Let’s all say, “finally!” Yes, it has happened. The White House, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are targeting the epidemic of childhood obesity. You read it here, in The Nerdel News, a statement by President Barack Obama forming a taskforce headed by Michelle, to “solve the problem of obesity among our Nation’s children within a generation.” As you all know, The Nerdel News and I have been way ahead of this issue as have many other nutrition and fitness experts. Increase in portion sizes, lack of substantial exercise, more availability of high fat, high carbohydrate and calorie dense foods to our younger folks, more devotion to technology and less to play time are just some of the problems. When schools say that exercise time is walking to the cafeteria, I have a problem with that. We all know the statistics-30 percent of our kids are either overweight or obese. These kids will grow up to be overweight, unhealthy adults if we don’t do something about it. So what can we do? A. Increase exercise time for our kids-make it mandatory in schools. B. Review the school lunch and breakfast programs for portion size and content- make them healthy! C. make an incentive program for parents to get their kids (and themselves) in shape-either tax credits or food credits. Why not! We gave money to banks and insurance companies ...

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