Adults At Risk For Diabetes Double Activity Levels

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and the University of Pittsburgh, please share your comments below…..

diabeteswordUniversity of Pittsburgh Public Health program increases physical activity in people at risk for diabetes — but season matters, according to new research.

Adults at risk for type 2 diabetes or heart disease or both can substantially increase their physical activity levels through participating in a lifestyle intervention program developed at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health for use in community-settings, such as senior centers or worksites.

Previous studies have demonstrated that such programs decrease weight and reduce diabetes risk, but this National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded evaluation is one of the first to document that these programs also result in significant increases in the participants’ physical activity levels. The results are reported in this month’s issue of the Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, coinciding with the organization’s 62nd annual meeting in Boston, the largest sports medicine and exercise meeting in the world.

The analysis also confirmed that season matters, with participants getting more physical activity in the summer, versus winter, months. “This may seem like an obvious finding, but this evidence that season influences the physical activity levels of participants in community-based lifestyle interventions will allow us to adjust these programs accordingly and offer extra encouragement and strategies to continue striving to meet physical activity goals during the winter,” said lead author Yvonne L. Eaglehouse, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at Pitt Public Health.

Dr. Eaglehouse and her colleagues investigated the impact of the Group Lifestyle Balance program, modified from the lifestyle intervention program used in the highly successful U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). The DPP was a national study which demonstrated that people at risk for diabetes who lost a modest amount of weight and sharply increased their physical activity levels reduced their chances of developing diabetes or metabolic syndrome, and outperformed people who took a diabetes drug instead.

diabetesglucoseGroup Lifestyle Balance is a 22-session program administered over a one-year period aimed at helping people make lifestyle changes to lower their risk for diabetes and heart disease. The goals of the program are to help participants reduce their weight by 7 percent and increase their moderate intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) to a minimum of 150 minutes per week.

As part of the Pitt community intervention effort, a total of 223 participants were enrolled to test the effectiveness of the Group Lifestyle Balance program at a worksite and three diverse community centers in the Pittsburgh area. The participants averaged 58 years of age and had pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome or both.

Participants were surveyed to determine the amount of leisure physical activity they achieved each week. As a result of participating in the program, participants added an average of 45 to 52 minutes of moderate intensity activity similar to a brisk walk to their weekly routine, which was maintained after the program ended at one year.

“This is one of the few programs of its kind to report on physical activity-related outcomes in a large group and the only known diabetes prevention healthy lifestyle program to examine the effect of season and weather on changes in physical activity levels,” said senior author Andrea Kriska, Ph.D., professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology and principal investigator of the NIH study. “Since increased physical activity is one of the primary targets of these programs, it is critical to know if it is working and what can be done to improve the chances that participants reach their goals.”

Additional authors on this research are Bonny J. Rockette-Wagner, Ph.D., Mary Kaye Kramer, Dr.P.H., R.N., Vincent C. Arena, Ph.D., Rachel G. Miller, M.S., and Karl K. Vanderwood, Ph.D., M.P.H., all of Pitt.

This study was funded by NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases grant R18 DK081323-04.

Physical Activity Vital Sign Should Be Standard In Patient Consultation Says ACSM

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seniorexerciseThis article is courtesy of The American College of Sports Medicine and Kaiser, please leave your comments below…..

The American College of Sports Medicine and Kaiser Permanente released a new official recommendation today, calling for health care professionals to assess patients’ level of physical activity using the Physical Activity Vital Sign (PAVS) at every medical appointment as a key measure of general health. The paper was published in the May/June issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports.

“The time is right to incorporate physical activity assessment and promotion into health care in a manner that engages clinicians and patients,” said Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, lead author of the journal article, and a Kaiser Permanente physician practicing in Southern California. “This call to action challenges current and future clinicians and the health care community to implement a PAVS in daily practice with every patient.”

Physicians in health systems who have implemented the PAVS ask patients simple questions about frequency and duration of their typical physical activity, allowing the clinician to engage in counseling specific to the patient’s individual situation and/or refer patients to resources in the community. The authors recommend strategies for implementing the PAVS, include providing information for both undergraduate and graduate medical students during their coursework, as well as offering continuing education opportunities about the PAVS, aligning with existing initiatives, and collaborating with major stakeholders.

“It is our hope that this paper will be a catalyst for systemic change as part of a comprehensive transition from treating chronic diseases to disease prevention and a culture of health and wellness,” said Dr. Sallis.

The article published today is an outcome of a joint consensus meeting held by the American College of Sports Medicine and Kaiser Permanente in April 2015 which included representatives from several different medical organizations. This paper represents a summary of the discussion, recommendations and next steps developed during the consensus meeting.

Healthy Eating, Physical Activity To Child Care Providers

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For our readers in Minnesota. This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts in the comments section below…..

twokidsunFunding from Blue Cross provides certification to child care programs who go the extra mile to create healthy environments for the state’s youngest residents.

Getting Minnesotans off to a healthy start early in life is critical to their health in adulthood. So where better to begin such healthy activity than in the settings children spend much of their time: in early learning and care environments. With the help of the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross), Providers Choice – a leader in supporting child care professionals in serving healthy meals and snacks to children in these settings – has developed their unique Twist & Sprout initiative that child care providers can adopt to implement healthy foods and physical activity into their practices.

The research on healthy child behavior and the importance of early intervention, gives great support to the Twist & Sprout program, with data from the American Heart Association showing obese children as young as 3 will already show indications for developing heart disease in adulthood, and overweight children between the ages of 7 and 13 could develop heart disease as early as 25. Using such a unique program, early child care providers have the opportunity to both provide a healthy environment for children and educate parents on incorporating those healthy habits at home. The Twist & Sprout initiative supports child care providers through offerings like engaging, in-person workshops; seasonal menus with breakfasts, lunches and snacks that meet the Child and Adult Care Food Program standards; instructional videos led by a real chef; culinary skills refresher videos; and resources for parents.

“We know through the research that children who attend child care settings that participate in initiatives such as the USDA Food Program eat healthier than those who don’t, and that children who consume a healthy diet are sick less often, have more energy and fewer health problems,” said Janelle Waldock, director at the Center. “At the Center, we believe in the importance of providing children with healthy environments from a young age so they are ready to enter kindergarten, succeed in school, and in life. Twist & Sprout embodies that principle, which is why we are so proud to fund the Twist & Sprout initiative through Providers Choice.”

One of the most impactful parts of the program is the opportunity for child care programs to become Twist & Sprout Certified. The certification is awarded to child care providers who put best practices into action by creating a healthy environment for children in their care. To receive certification, providers have to meet a number of criteria, including the incorporation of healthy eating and physical activity into their care on a daily basis and having a written wellness policy. The certification allows child care providers to show off their skills and differentiate themselves from others, and also serves as a great tool for parents to make more informed decisions about where to send their children for care.

kidsunningtogether“Having the certification sets us apart from other child care options,” said Becky Gill, who offers child care services in Inver Grove Heights, a suburb of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. “Parents know that their children are going to eat healthy, nutritious foods while they’re here, which makes it easier for parents to feed them that same food when they’re at home. We also keep them engaged with active play that helps create an overall healthy environment. We’re so proud to know that the children we care for will be healthier because they were here.”

Twist & Spout workshops are available across the state, and there are already 45 Twist & Sprout Certified child care providers who have demonstrated a commitment to safe and healthy eating policies as well as structured active play to help keep the next generation of Minnesotans healthy. To find a Twist & Sprout Certified provider, visit http://www.providerschoice.com and click on “Search for Child Care in Minnesota.” Twist & Sprout Certified providers have the Twist & Sprout logo next to their name.

About Providers Choice
Providers Choice supports child care professionals in serving healthy meals and snacks to the children in their care. As the largest nonprofit sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program in the United States, we provide training, compliance monitoring and technical assistance to over 4,000 family child care providers and centers. Providers Choice is headquartered in the west metro of the Twin Cities and serves all 87 counties in Minnesota. To learn more about Providers Choice, visit their website at ProvidersChoice.com. To learn more about the Twist & Sprout program, visit ProvidersChoice.com/TwistandSprout.

About the Center for Prevention
The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota delivers on Blue Cross’ long-term commitment to improve the health of all Minnesotans by tackling the leading root causes of preventable disease: tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating. Funded through proceeds from Blue Cross’ historic lawsuit against the tobacco industry, we collaborate with organizations statewide to increase health equity, transform communities and create a healthier state. Visit CenterforPreventionMN.com for more information.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (bluecrossmn.com), with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today as a health company: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, taxable organization. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago.

Ten Romantic Activity Dates For Valentine’s Day

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below…..

girlTrade in chocolates for a little exercise this Valentine’s Day. This Austin sports medicine team has compiled a list of ten activities for couples to engage in for both romance and physical fitness.

It’s hard to picture Valentine’s Day without the box of chocolates, extravagant dinners and indulgent desserts, but it’s important that one day doesn’t completely derail fitness goals. In fact, it’s highly beneficial that couples take another approach to the special day altogether. Instead of excessive calories, try a work out date with your significant other this February 14th.

“There are many different advantages to exercising with your romantic partner,” said Dr. Martha Pyron, owner of Medicine in Motion. “Activity dates with your significant other can help add balance to your exercise routines, assist with proper form, and develop a common interest, which can lead to greater motivation and support.”

Make the pledge to turn this Valentine’s Day from calorie-filled to calorie-burning. Here are a few fun (and often romantic) suggestions for a fitness date from the Austin sports medicine team at Medicine in Motion:

1. Bowling. While not the most strenuous of activities, infrequent bowlers will find themselves using muscle groups they don’t often hit.

2. Yoga. Take a class together, use an application on your smart phone, or pop in a DVD. Not only is yoga a great workout, it will also help partners tune out the rest of the world, which is the perfect mindset for a date.

3. Ballroom dancing. Dance may not be intuitive for every guy (or girl) out there, but the romance factor of this activity is worth the effort of a few lessons.

4. Golf. This is one of the best ways to spend quiet and quality time together. Golf games tend to last a while, so there’s ample time for flirting and a rewarding kiss for those great shots.

5. Bicycling. Even if one or both don’t own a bike, most towns have a rental shop. Not only is this a great way to burn calories, but it’s also better on the environment. Pick a scenic route and turn the experience into a sight-seeing adventure.

6. Batting cages. Not the best at baseball? Worst case scenario is that one or both will get in a few laughs, and that’s great exercise for the abdominal muscles.

7. Rock climbing. Most people don’t have experience with climbing, but bigger cities almost always have an indoor rock climbing facility for beginners. It’s a great workout and a great lesson in trusting a partner.

8. Hike. If still wanting to include food on the date, pack a romantic picnic and take a hike through the woods.

9. Beach. Whether playing a round of beach volleyball, going for an ocean swim, or just frolicking along the sandy beaches, it’s all exercise and fun.

10. Row boat. Rent a row boat, canoe or kayak for two. The paddling is an excellent upper-body workout, but leave ample time to drift along the water to enjoy the romantic backdrop.

Medicine in Motion (MIM) specializes in providing top quality sports medicine in Austin, Texas, for athletic individuals of all ages and levels. The staff at MIM believes active bodies are healthy bodies, therefore it is the office’s goal to keep patients energetic and fit. To that end, MIM provides treatment of injuries and illnesses, including the use of physical rehabilitation; promotes healthy living with personal training and nutrition coaching; and offers comprehensive sports medicine evaluations to optimize health, activity level and sports performance. For more information or for questions regarding sports medicine in Austin, contact Medicine in Motion at 512-257-2500 or visit the website at http://www.medinmotion.com.

The Little Gym Shares New Study That Shows Physical Activity Can Help Kids Academically

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Article courtesy of PRWeb…..

familydrivewayThe Little Gym is excited to share the findings from the Journal of Pediatrics that explores how physical activity can help children in academic settings as well.

At The Little Gym, we know that being active provides serious benefits. So it came as no surprise when a recent study confirmed that regular physical activity can improve a child’s academic success. The Journal of Pediatrics found that “Promoting physical activity that involves aerobic exercise and motor tasks during the school years may be important not only for health, but also for successful academic development.” The study monitored two groups of children; those that were engaging in regular physical activity in afterschool programs, and those who were not. The results showed that children who were physically active displayed substantial improvements in testing scores, memory, focus, and problem-solving skills.

How can you encourage your child to get and stay active? Show children that exercise is fun! Go for nightly walks, bike rides, or have a family dance party. Get children involved in age appropriate exercises and group activities like The Little Gym. The benefits of being active will help improve your child’s academic performance, social skills, health, and much more. Get up and get moving today!

To learn more about the study, click here.

Balancing Diet, Physical Activity Key To Combating Obesity Epidemic

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Submitted by Matt Raymond

New Article Makes Recommendations for Public Health Strategies

joggerIs it possible for experts from the leading nutrition and sport medicine professional organizations to come to consensus on how to strategically address obesity? The answer can be found in a peer-reviewed paper, Energy Balance at a Crossroads: Translating the Science into Action, which provides specific recommendations for biological, lifestyle and environmental changes that will successfully guide children and families toward healthier weights.

The paper, published jointly in the July editions of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® and in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, outlines steps to incorporate energy balance principles into public health strategies.

The recommendations include:

* Integrate energy balance into curriculum and training for both exercise science and nutrition professionals and strengthen collaborative efforts between them.

* Develop competencies for school and physical education teachers and position them as energy balance advocates.

* Develop core standards for schools that integrate the dynamic energy balance approach.

* Work with federally funded nutrition programs like the Cooperative Extension Service and school lunch programs to incorporate energy balance solutions.

* Develop messaging and promotional strategies about energy balance that American consumers can understand and apply to their lifestyles.

* Map out and support existing programs that emphasize energy balance.

“We have been discussing and analyzing the obesity epidemic for years. I am ecstatic to see actionable steps toward realistic solutions,” said Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, the IFIC Foundation’s senior vice president of nutrition and food safety and co-author of the paper.

“Addressing obesity prevention through sharing best practices with consumers and community leaders, in addition to undergraduate and graduate level training, is a comprehensive approach that works.”

The paper is an outcome of the October 2012 expert panel meeting titled “Energy Balance at the Crossroads: Translating the Science into Action,” hosted by ACSM, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Agriculture Research Service.

The IFIC Foundation, along with ILSI North America, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American College of Sports Medicine, held a webinar for health professionals Aug. 28 on the same subject as the paper; it can be viewed here.

In addition to Smith Edge, the article’s co-authors are Melinda M. Manore, Oregon State University; Katie Brown, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation; Linda Houtkooper, University of Arizona; John Jakicic, University of Pittsburgh; John C. Peters, University of Colorado, Denver; Alison Steiber, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation; Scott Going, University of Arizona; Lisa Guillermin Gable, Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation; and Ann Marie Krautheim, National Dairy Council.

saladplateIn a related vein, the IFIC Foundation’s Food Insight newsletter published an article in its September issue about a new study in the American Journal of Medicine that suggests that decreased physical activity is a bigger culprit in our nation’s expanding waistlines than increased calorie intake. The story is accompanied by an infographic summarizing key findings.

For interview requests and any other questions, please contact the IFIC Foundation media team at 202-296-6540, Raymond@ific.org.

The International Food Information Council Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. Visit foodinsight.org.

More On Childhood Obesity

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overweightchildFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very interesting article from WEAR-TV, an ABC local affiliate about childhood obesity. Reports have come in from many credible organizations like the American Heart Association, which stated 25 million American youth are overweight or obese – and the CDC which has stated obesity has doubled for children ages 5-11, and nearly tripled for teens ages 12-18. Heart disease is still the number one killer in our country, and illnesses related to it are also on the rise, such as type 2 diabetes – affecting children as well. There are many contributing causes to this epidemic such as homework loads, extra-curricular activities, sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet – but one thing that has been a major influence in the rise of obesity among children is the popularity of technology. Children keep busy on their Ipads, video games, hand held devices, computers, cell phones, and countless other machines that entertain, but cause children to be sedentary. Throw on top of this all the TV times, and we have ‘couch potato’ generation, who many experts feel could have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. We need to get kids off the couch, out to play, have healthier diets, less technology, and proper education on healthy lifestyle. Please visit the WEAR-TV (ABC-TV) web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It was very informative, and shared great material at the local level.”

From the article…..

It’s a growing problem across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Childhood Obesity has more than doubled in the past 30-years.

What is being done to battle the growing disease. “Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States here in Escambia County one of the ways they are trying to battle that problem is starting here in the schools by changing the lunches.”

Pediatrician Doctor Michelle Grier-Hall says obesity at a young age raises many health concerns not only physical but mental.

Dr. Michelle Grier-Hall “Heart disease and diabetes which we are seeing diabetes in our children not just in adults but we’re seeing diabetes in children who have obesity, so you have high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and this is not good of course the joint problems, back pains and other things you can see with obesity.”

The Escambia County Health Department says there is no increase in the total percentage of students who are obese or overweight this year.

Data shows 63 % of the children measured are in the normal range for body mass index. But CDC numbers nation wide show children ages 6 to 11 years who are obese increased from 7 % in 1980 to 18 % in 2010.

Adolescents ages 12 to 19 increased from 5 % to 18 %. Recently, schools have stepped in changing their lunch menus to healthier alternatives.

And removing friers from the cafeteria. Jaleena Davis “There are five components in our meal whole grain bread, milk, fruit, vegetable, meat or meat alternate.”

To read the complete article…..Click here

When Sizing Up Childhood Obesity Risks, It Helps To Ask About Random Kids

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girlhulaFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article on the NPR web site that I wanted to promote by Gillian K. SteelFisher entitled When Sizing Up Childhood Obesity Risks, It Helps To Ask About Random Kids. Please visit the NPR site to support Gillian’s article. Childhood obesity is on the rise in many areas of the world. Many would like to think it is starting to get under control, but even so, many children are in need of reducing their weight. Obesity related illnesses for young children is on the rise, as so many children show risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, cancer, and weak joints. In fact, many of these children are bullied at school as well as having low self esteem. Recently, a poll was taken with a random sample of children which looked at what children are actually doing in terms of eating, drinking and physical activity. Are they eating dinner with their families? And what’s on their plate (or TV screen or iPod) when they do? To learn more about this poll and its results, please visit the NPR web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

To understand the challenges around childhood obesity in the U.S., you need to take a close look at the lives of children and the households in which their habits are formed.

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, where I’m a researcher, created a unique poll to do that.

The poll looked at what children are actually doing in terms of eating, drinking and physical activity. Are they eating dinner with their families? And what’s on their plate (or TV screen or iPod) when they do?

One thing that makes this poll different from others is that it’s based on a random sample of children, even though adults in the households answered the questions. In order to be sure the findings are representative of children across the country, we needed this random sample of kids.

It’s an important distinction.

In a traditional poll, the research team telephones a random selection of households and asks to speak with a randomly selected adult in the household. Here, the team telephoned a random selection of households with children and asked to speak with an adult about a randomly selected kid in the household.

Another difference is that the polling team went beyond interviews with parents. In each case, we interviewed an adult in the household who actually knows what the child does and eats. Another caregiver — rather than a parent — might know that best. This approach allowed us to make sure that kids living in many kinds of households are included.

For most kids, the adult who knows what they eat and what they’re doing in terms of activities does turn out to be a parent. But for some kids, the adult who knows is a grandmother, a foster parent, an uncle or even an adult sibling. We call the respondents “parents” in our reports for simplicity, and we make a note about this in the complete description of our polling methods.

To read the full article…..Click here

Reasons For Recess

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boydribbleFrom Your Health Journal…..”A great article this week by Kellie B. Gormly in TribLive called Reasons For Recess. There has been so much talk about childhood obesity – as we discussed many times today, too many children have illness related to it. Cutbacks in recreation programs as well as Physical Education are having a negative impact on the health of children. There seems to be less and less time for activity. Recess is also having it cutbacks, as some school districts are cutting back on this as well. It is one of the most favorite times of the day for kids, as they get some physical activity, exercise, socialization, and it actually enhances cognitive skills. Recess is more than being just idle, goof-off time on the monkey bars, it benefits children‘s minds and bodies. Withholding recess can stunt healthy development, according to a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The article also suggests that safe and supervised recess is available in about 73 percent of elementary schools regularly — offers children physical, emotional, social and cognitive benefits, such as improved classroom behavior, a better attention span and interaction and bonding with other kids. Please visit the TribLive web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. Please support your local schools recess program!”

From the article…..

On a frigid day with temperatures in the teens, a group of spirited kids spend their recess running around a gym shooting baskets, even scoring a few three-pointers.

Joseph Anania, 8, stops to take a breath, and explains why recess is his favorite part of the day at Shady Side Academy Junior School in Point Breeze.

“Because I get to run around with my friends and play,” says Joseph, a third-grader from Fox Chapel. “I wish we had recess all day.”

Whitney McVeagh — who likes to play games like Four Square and Knockout and ride the swings — enthusiastically agrees.

“I like that you‘re able … to spend time with your friends and do anything you want,” says Whitney, 10, a fourth-grader from Point Breeze. “At some point, you need to get out your energy.”

The kids are on to something, experts say.

Recess — rather than being just idle, goof-off time on the monkey bars — benefits children‘s minds and bodies. Withholding recess can stunt healthy development, according to a recent policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Robert Murray, a pediatrician who was a lead author on the statement, says that safe and supervised recess — which, he says, about 73 percent of elementary schools provide regularly — offers children physical, emotional, social and cognitive benefits, such as improved classroom behavior, a better attention span and interaction and bonding with other kids.

Murray’s examination of decades-long studies for the Academy supports recess for many reasons, including physical fitness, which is important when childhood obesity is so common, he says. Recess, he says, helps a child‘s cognitive process in the same way, for instance, as a coffee break for adults: It breaks concentration from work, releases restlessness and allows someone to return to work with a refreshed mind.

Kids at recess learn skills in collaboration, Murray says, as they play rules-based games with other kids.

“This is very mindful play time, and it‘s very constructive,” a Murray, a former professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University in Columbus, where he now works in the school‘s department of human nutrition. “This is part of what makes the child into a functioning adult: It‘s the opportunity to work with other kids and learn to get along. That is as important of a lesson that you learn at school as math and reading are.”

To read the full article…..Click here

Guest Post – Emiah Chardon, 10 Activity Ideas Inspired By Primetime To Get You And Your Kids Active

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We all love watching our favorite cable TV shows, but have you ever thought about trying something from one of your favorite Primetime flicks? There are a lot of amazing ideas you can get from watching a fun series like “The Big Bang Theory,” “Myth Busters” and even “Man vs. Wild.” Here’s a list of ten activities, inspired by my favorite Primetime shows, to get you and the kids out of the house.

#1 Build a Fort with Bear Grylls

“Man vs. Wild” is a great inspiration for anything outdoors. My thought was to take the kids to the woods and see if we could make a lean shelter. Not only was it fun, it was a practical skill to develop. I found a great video to explain the process.

#2″Survivor”…sort of

We found a lot of fun things to do outside, one of them inspired by “Survivor.” Taking the kids out back to have them camp in the back yard, with a twist. The fun part was having them use primitive methods to start a fire, and to use old bed sheets and rope to make a shelter.

#3 “Green Arrow” and a few straw bales

One of the fun new Primetime shows is “Arrow.” I always wanted to try archery with my family, so we picked up a couple beginner bows at the local Wal-Mart, a few bales of straw from a local IFA store and BAM—we had an archery range in the back yard. Superhero status, here we come.

#4 “Top Gear” is Top Class

Our favorite BBC show, next to “Doctor Who,” is, of course, “Top Gear.” Nobody does cars like Jeremy, Richard and James. Want to get out of the house and show your kids your undying appreciation for a well built machine? Take them to a local car show or car museum. If that’s not available, I took my sons for a bit of window shopping. Just be a little stiff with the sales staff and you’ll be fine.

#5″Addicted to the Outdoors”…and tracks

There are a lot of hunting shows on TV nowadays, like “Addicted to the Outdoors” from the Outdoor Channel; and it got me thinking. Why not grab some books from the library and take my kids into the hills to do a little tracking of our own? Not to hurt the wildlife, but to learn about the tracks that animals make. It turned out to be fun, entertaining and educational!

#6 Dogs and more

My kids are big fans of “Dogs 101,” produced by Animal Planet. They wondered what it would be like to feed more than our own dog? So I packed up the car and we took a trip to a local farm where we got permission to feed the animals. It was fun to help with the horses, chickens and even a few pigs. It was so much fun; in fact, we took another trip later in the month to a local dairy for a tour.

#7 It’s a “Revolution!”

Think about the worst case scenario you can. What would you do if you didn’t have the comforts of life? That’s what got us thinking when we watched “Revolution.” How would we grow food if we couldn’t pop down to the local market? We started learning about “vertical gardens” and created our own food supply. Here’s a cool playlist from Youtube to give you a start on the subject.

#8 Scavenger Hunt

“American Digger” caught our attention with the crazy hunts they did. Mob money, fountain of cash, spoils of war? We decided to do our own digging. With a metal detector in hand, we took the kids to the beach. Unfortunately, we only found a handful of coins, a broken watch and 64 bottle caps, but we did have a fantastic time.

#9 Time to DIG!

If you haven’t seen “Time Team America,” you should check it out. It gave us the brilliant idea to round up the kids’ army men, tiny plastic animals and plastic figurines and create an outside adventure. Keeping the kids inside, I took a shovel to the sand box and dug deep. I buried the objects and then lightly hosed it down to make it heavy. Then we waited a couple hours and created our own excavation site. What a blast!

#10 “The Big Bang Theory” & Mentos

I rarely laugh more than watching Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj on “The Big Bang Theory” when their geekness overcomes them. Their brilliance, mixed with comic book/Star Trek obsessions, gave me the idea for a little science experiment of my own. Ever tried mixing Mentos with Diet Coke? This should be done in the back yard, on the lawn, with a 2 liter of Diet Coke (so it’s not sticky) and a package of Mentos.

What ideas from Primetime have inspired you to get out with your kids?

– Emiah Gardner is a writer for CableTV.com that spends her weekends with family, friends and the shows recorded on her Comcast DVR.