"This generation of kids
is the first in 100 years to have
�a lower life expectancy than their parents."
on the childhood obesity epidemic in America
Just Say No to Dodgeball . . . and Other Ways to
Cure the Childhood Obesity Epidemic, Part I
An interview with PE4life's Ken Reed
By Denis Faye
vast majority of schools would probably still
The folks at PE4life travel
a hard road. The not-for-profit organization, founded
in 2000, is trying to change the country's mind-set
about PE (physical education class)a country
that's getting fatter and less fit with every generation.
With over 25% of American kids considered obese,
and the sales of Xboxes and PlayStations, or whatever,
soaring, today's youth aren't exactly following
the Pied Piper of daily exercise. Furthermore,
their parents come from a generation in which only
an elite few actually benefited from taking PE
classes. The rest of us were little more than
dodgeball fodder, so why should we make our kids
endure that torture all over again?
into 'old school PE' that
is, if they even have PE.
Some schools have
dropped it altogether. There are
across the country that are building
shouldn't, and that's why PE4life has developed
the "New PE," a
model for physical education that promotes individual
achievement, not mass slaughter via a hard, rubber
ball. PE4life helps
schools win federal Physical Education for Progress
and then use that money to create a positive,
healthy system where gym class benefits one and
Reed, PE4life's Director of Marketing and Director
of the Center for the Advancement of Physical
Education (CAPE), took some time to talk to us
about his organization and the solutions they
Beachbody: Tell us about the state of youth fitness in America today.
Reed: It isn't good and it's getting
worse. Physical activity levels have dropped
dramatically in the last 25 years and we believe
there's a direct link there to childhood obesity,
as well as a dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes,
high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels
a variety of reasons for it. There are safety
reasons in terms of parents driving their kids
to schools now instead of kids walking or riding
bikes. The same goes for after-school activities.
Kids don't ride bikes to Little League practice
anymore. They hop in the minivan. Safety concerns
also keep kids from playing in the front yard
or in the street. And then you've got the phenomenon
of video games, DVDs, and TVs and all those things
that keep kids indoors. And you've got the decline
in physical education programs at the same time.
BB: Why do you suppose PE's on the decline?
you've got a variety of reasons, but it's primarily
because of budget problems in schools. Also,
the focus is on the educational assessment test
that almost every state has due to No Child Left
Behind and other factors. It's become the scorecard
for administrators and teachers. The focus is
on reading, writing, and arithmetic. Parents
are also picking up on the state assessment scores
as their scorecards on how their school's doing,
so they put more pressure on schools to focus
on those areas. Something's got to give, and
it's usually PE, music, and art classes.
BB: Would it also
have something to do with the stigma PE has, that
a lot of parents remember PE as being pretty medieval?
a good point. There is that stigma with a certain
percentage of the population and some of those
people end up on school boards or as administrators.
They recall what we call "old school PE," where
the coach comes out with a clipboard and whistle
and it's all about calisthenics and picking teams
for competitive sports and dodgeball. We believe
in a "New PE." The
PE4life way is focusing on physical fitness,
not team sports. We'll have team sports, but
people will play on small-sided teams3-on-3
basketball instead of 5-on-5, and 4-on-4 football
and soccer instead of 11-on-11, so you get
all kids active and moving. You get kids on
all the positions, instead of the athletes
playing quarterback and receiver and the other
kids standing on the line of scrimmage.
big thing about the PE4life way that's really
transformed physical education is technology,
in terms of pedometers and heart rate monitors.
Our kids put on these heart rate monitors and
you can see clearly when they're in their target
heart rate zone and when they're not. It's an
equalization process. Even the least athletic
kids in class can get an "A" based
on effort more than outcome. If they're working
hard enough to be in their target heart rate
zone, they get an "A" whether they
finish the mile run in 8 minutes or 13 minutes.
really helped kids who aren't athletically inclined
feel good about themselves and not so stressed
out about PE. If you visited one of these schools,
you'd be amazed. They have high ropes courses,
wall climbing, just a variety of things. These
kids love it. They run in, grab their heart rate
monitor off the wall, and put them on as fast
as putting on their old uniforms.
BB: Tell us more about the use of heart
kids get reports at the end of the semester on
what they need to do to keep their fitness levels
up. Their data is downloaded the day after class.
There's nutrition advice in there. It's a nice,
customized report that the kids and their parents
can get about their fitness.
Speaking of nutritional advice, why do you think
it's the decline in PE and exercise that's causing
the problem more than super-sized meals and unhealthy
eating in general?
are some studies that have come out in the last
year or so, for example, one study that was in The
Lancet medical publication. I don't have
it with me, but the gist of it was that over
that last 25 years, caloric intake in toddlers
and young kids has gone up three or four percent,
but the level of physical activity has dropped
nearly 20% to 25%. Same thing with a study out
of San Diego on
teenagers. Calories consumed have gone up only
slightly in the last 25 years. Activity levels
have dropped dramatically.
believe that the primary cause of the childhood/teenage
obesity epidemic is more the lack of physical
activity despite the public perception that it's
more nutrition and the super-size mentality.
Calories aside, the quality of the food in school
lunch programs has suffered. Surely that would
be part of the problem as well.
is part of the issue, and it's more than just
the quality of the food in terms of obesity,
but energy levels as well. Even with the diets
kids are getting in schools, if the kids were
more active, they'd be better off.
of the problem too is focusing just on weight
or body mass index. Fitness levels are much more
important than body weight. There are some really
skinny kids in our schools that look like they're
healthy enough, but they can't run 100 yards
without being too winded. So it's important to
go on fitness criteria and not body weight.
How do you think the fitness level of our kids
is going to affect our country as a whole?
there's an article I was quoted in recently about
how the country's decline in fitness levels,
of adults and children, is negatively impacting
productivity. This generation of kids is the
first in 100 years to have a lower life expectancy
than their parents. Fitness levels, as well as
health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure,
are much worse trend-wise than we've ever seen
with teenagers and young children. The economic
cost just in terms of health care costs is going
to be dramatic. Then, when you factor in the
loss in productivity, it's really going to be
dramatic for our country if it's not turned around.
How many schools across America are using
the "New PE" and how many are
still using "old school PE"?
vast majority of schools would probably still
fit into "old school"that is, if they
even have PE. Some schools have dropped it altogether.
There are even districts across the country that
are building new schools without gyms.
has three what we call "PE4life institutes" that
are exemplary model programs in working schools
that fit all of our philosophies and criteriahigh
school, middle school, and elementary school.
What we do there is train the trainers. We bring
in communities because with the budget problems
in high schools, you can't just bring in PE teachers
or principals and expect much change. We encourage
community teams of 5 to 10 people, including
PE teachers, administrators, school board members,
hospital administrators, civic leaders, and business
leaders to come in and see one or two days of
training, to see what's possible, and see how
to make it a reality with fundraising and things
like that. They go back out and incorporate what
they've learned into PE4life programs.
don't have the exact number of schools and kids
impacted. We're in our fourth year and I know
we've had people from 26 or 27 states and four
or five countries come to our institutes.
of Part I. Read Part II in the January issue
of Beachbody News. Here's a sample of what's
hear this old line about sports building
character and being good for kids. My thought
was, if that's true, why are we just focusing
on the elite athletes? I started doing research
on the decline of intramural sportsthey've
almost gone the way of the dinosaur.
Look Your Best for New
a Celeb Designer
By Lena Katz
The New Year is right
around the cornerand you
know what that means: New Year's Eve. The biggest
party night of the year. All around the country,
women are putting on their sexiest, showiest dresses
and heading out on the town to dance and flirt
the night away. Even if you're staying home, there's
that midnight kiss and champagne toast to look
forward to. And everywhere you lookin the clubs,
the restaurants, and on the TV screenthere's a
babe in a little black dress. You'd much like to
join their ranks . . . but you're feeling a little
nervous about rocking your new, improved curves
in front of an audience of your peers.
Best believe, you're not alone.
Even the most genetically blessed gals struggle
to find that ever-elusive perfect frock: one with
a skirt that's neither too long nor too short;
a bodice neither too tight nor too loose; and fabric
that's neither too shiny nor too dull. It's a true
Goldilocks dilemma, revisited on millions of frustrated
women in changing rooms around the world.
Rather than leave you
to the tender mercies of the wild animalser,
evening wear salespeoplewe
found an expert to guide you through the satin-trapped,
spaghetti-strapped wilderness. Australian
designer Leona Edmiston specializes
in flirty, sexy, curve-hugging cocktail dresses
and evening wear. Though Leona has dressed her
fair share of stick-thin models and celebs (Nicole
Kidman, Kylie Minogue, and Helena Christensen are
just a few), she is among a handful of designers
who actually create pieces for real women.
You knowthose of us with womanly hips and
not-quite-flat tummies, and maybe a few extra pounds
here and there.
In between fittings and openings, Leona has taken
time to answer some of your biggest questions and
Does any color except black have a slenderizing
If you find basic black
a bit boring, Leona suggests you substitute any
other dark colordeep blue,
forest green, or the plum color featured in her
Winter 2004 collection.
What kind of dress can hide my tummy? What
styles should I avoid?
"Obviously stay away from skin-tight styles," says
Leona. (Hooray! You can breathe again.) Interestingly,
she adds that you should also avoid anything with
pleats or gathers in the waist. Instead, use diagonal
design lines (as in the 'Abigail' dress style)
or an empire waist to draw attention away from
your tummy and up to your bust. After all, a little
bit of bulge in that area is a good thing, right?
I'm not crazy about my upper arms, but I don't
want to wear long sleeves. Are there any other
sleeves that are flattering?
"Bracelet length or just below the elbow
arms are very flattering and feminine," Leona
recommends. And here's a hint from us: If you can't
find a dress with elbow-length sleeves, a sheer
or mesh top over a tank top or cami will do the
What dress style is most flattering if I'm
The wrap is not just for
summertime sarongs any more, according to Leona.
She points us to the Blanche dress (pictured),
which is actually part of her spring collection.
A similar dress in a solid color would fit right
in at an office partyand
best of all, it can be adjusted to fit a J-Lo-esque
largesse instead of squeezing it too tight.
How can I make it look like I have a waist?
The straight-up-and-down dilemma strikes all sort
of women, from size 18s to size 2s. And while some
seasons embrace it, this winter, according to Leona,
the nipped-in look is in. To get it for
yourself, try a V-neck or an off-the-shoulder cut
(hellooo Flashdance!) to create the
illusion of wider shoulders. Find a skirt with
a flared A-line, or gentle, flowing pleats (or
our favorite, the handkerchief hem) that add volume
at the bottomand don't forget, a belted style
will always emphasize your waistline.
Can you recommend any form-flattering wraps,
shawls, or other fancy-dress outerwear?
Ponchos and pashminas
may be all the rage according to some, but that
doesn't mean you have to follow the trend. Go
with a capelet, advises Leona. For those of you
with arm insecurities, a capelet will hide your
upper arms while still revealing your décolletage. It's an elegantbut not overwhelmingfinishing
touch that won't draw too much attention away from
the dress itself.
And you do want attention, right?
You've worked for it. You deserve it. So, with
these tips in mind, go forth, shop wise . . . and
of the Week: Pre-Workout Eating
to sustain your workoutwhat to eat pre-workoutshould
depend upon the type of workout that you plan
on doing: high, moderate, or low intensity; or
cardio or resistance. Here are some guidelines
for any moderate- to high-intensity workouts,
whether they are cardio or resistance, because
you will need some carbs in your system if you
want to perform your best.
or four hours before exercising, a large meal
is fine (600 calories or more).
or three hours beforehand, a smaller meal
is suitable (400500 calories).
or two hours before, a liquid meal is appropriate
around an hour, a small snack will do (200300
not to eat during the last hour before you
begin a workout because it promotes excessive
use of blood sugar in the initial stages of your
Recipe of the Week: Holiday Niçoise Salad
This week's delicious recipe,
courtesy of Dulce B., is perfect for those of you
looking to add some zest to your salad repertoire.
This tasty tandem combines a raspberry vinaigrette
with a delectable salad that's packed with nature's
healthiest ingredients. Just make sure you've got
big enough bowls to make room for all the mouthwatering
morsels. So grab a fork, my friend, and experience
the Super Bowl of Salads.
Vinaigrette (can be made a day ahead)
Tbsp. raspberry vinegar
tsp. Dijon mustard
Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
a medium bowl, whisk together the raspberry vinegar, Dijon mustard,
salt, pepper, and tarragon, then slowly stream
in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify the
small red-skin potatoes, boiled and cut in half
3 small purple Peruvian or blue potatoes, boiled
and cut in half
pound fresh green beans, trimmed and blanched
large tomatoes, cut into wedges
hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
pound salmon filet
pound mixed baby greens (rinsed)
Tbsp. capers, rinsed
whole lemon, squeezed
Tbsp. olive oil
Tbsp. fresh, chopped dill
and pepper to taste
salmon into four to six filets. Lightly salt
and pepper each filet, then brush with lemon juice
and olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh dill, and then
either grill or broil in the oven at 400 degrees
for about 20 minutes.
the mixed baby greens with a quarter of the raspberry
vinaigrette, then place greens into four to six
medium-sized salad bowlsfill each about a third
full. Arrange each of the remaining ingredients
in its own separate section on top of the mixed
greens in a visually appealing festive presentation:
the potato halves, tomatoes wedges, green beans,
egg slices, olives, capers, walnuts, cranberries,
and salmon. Drizzle with the remaining raspberry
vinaigrette, then sprinkle with parsley, salt,
and pepper to taste. Bon appetit!
you have a recipe you think is Beachbody material,
send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we publish it, we'll send you a free T-shirt.
New Year, New You! Win CASH and Other
here to join thousands of members
who have posted their New Year's resolutions on
New Year, New You! Web site. And
while you're at it, you can play games and win
prizes, get diet and fitness tips, receive
special offers, and much more! Plus, you'll
receive a Special Reward just for posting!
WOWY on January
Out With You) is the amazing online gym that
helps you succeed by enabling you to make commitments
to work out at a specific time.
no better way to kick off the New Year than by
joining your favorite Beachbody trainers and
other members in WOWY on January 1st at 11
AM PT/2 PM ET. Over 200 people have already signed
up for the New Year, New You! group!
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of the Month?
are always looking for inspiring posts by our
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