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Aquatic Fitness Fun
August 2011

Solutions for Non-Swimmers

Acquatic_FitnessIt’s summertime, and with a cry of, “Last one in’s a rotten egg,” everybody wants to get into the water. Along with the fun, swimming is superb exercise. That’s terrific—if you can swim. But many people never learned to swim, have a limiting disability or are just afraid of deep water.

Aquatic Fitness

Tracy Carlson, aquatic director of the New Holland (Pennsylvania) Recreation Center and an Aquatics Exercise Association- certified aquatic instructor who teaches at indoor and outdoor pools, observes that, “You tend to find an older crowd in their 30s, 40s and up. You don’t find the younger crowd here much, and they are really missing out on the benefits of aquatic fitness.” She explains, “It’s perfect for people who are afraid of the water, because they don’t have to immerse their head or take their feet off the bottom of the pool.”

 
Are Fit Kids Smarter?
August 2011

Another Reason for Kids to Stay in Shape

Strong_KidHow important is it that kids engage in physical activity? Very, according to a recent study published in the journal, Brair Research. Kids that are more physically active tend to have a better-developed brain, which in turn helps them perform better on memory tests.

The study involved 49 children, ages 9 and 10, who ran on a treadmill to measure their oxygen intake, a standard measure of fitness. Subsequent magnetic resonance imaging data of the children found that the more physically fit kids tended to have a larger hippocampus—about 12 percent bigger, relative to total brain size—than their out-of-shape peers and outperformed them on relational memory tests. The hippocampus is known to be important in learning and memory.

The new findings suggest that interventions to increase childhood physical activity could have an effect on brain development. “We knew that experience and environmental factors and socioeconomic status all impact brain development,” says Art Kramer, the University of Illinois psychology professor and Beckman Institute director who led the study. “It’s not easy to do something about your economic status, but here’s something that we can do something about.”


Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010

 
Kid-Friendly Clues to Healthy Eating
August 2011

The "Nutrition Detectives" Program

NutritionAccording to a recent study conducted by the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, it takes less than two hours to turn students and their parents into “Nutrition Detectives,” able to identify better-for-you foods quickly and reliably.

Nutrition Detectives is a 90-minute program for elementary schools and families, developed by Drs. David and Catherine Katz and a team of nutrition and education experts, in response to the current childhood obesity crisis.

The study included more than 1,200 Independence, Missouri, students in grades two through four and their parents. Students in all three grades increased their food label literacy scores by 18 percent, with third grade students showing the most improvement (23 percent). The overall gain in scores among students was retained three months after their initial exposure to the program.


Download or order free program materials from NutritionDetectives.com.

 
Natural Approaches to ADHD
August 2011

babyDrugs for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are among the hottest-selling medications today, garnering 13 percent of children’s prescription dollars, with sales soaring so quickly that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently had to declare a national shortage.

That worries naturopathic doctors Matthew Baral and David Deichert. “People have gotten in the bad habit of going to medication first, without trying natural therapies,” states Baral, a pediatrics professor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Tempe, Arizona.

In some cases, prescription medication is warranted, says Deichert, an ADHD specialist with Bastyr University, in Kenmore, Washington. But in most cases, he sees it as a stopgap measure as the longer-term benefits of diet and lifestyle changes slowly kick in. The two naturopaths offer these natural wellness approaches.

Minimize Food Additives After decades of parents’ suspicions that additives like food coloring and artificial flavors may fuel behavioral changes in kids, several recent studies have bolstered such claims. A 2007 study of nearly 300 kids ages 3 to 8, published in The Lancet, found that those given drinks containing artificial dye showed significantly higher hyperactivity within a few hours. The British government now requires labels warning that children’s products containing dye may impair attention.

 
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