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SHOCKING?? U.S. Kids Among Least Fit In The World

Did you realize that America’s kids are  ranked 47 out of 50 countries measuring aerobic fitness — a key factor for overall health — in a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. By comparison, Tanzania, Iceland, Estonia, Norway and Japan raced away with the top five slots. The least fit country: Mexico.But wow 47 ? Really !??! That’s an alarming fact that forces me to have soem introspection on my own level of fitness….

Research teams from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the University of North Dakota analyzed data on more than 1.1 million kids aged 9 to 17. Subjects were evaluated using a multi-stage fitness test also known as the “beep” test. How it works: You run back and forth between two points 66 feet apart to synchronized beeps. The point where you can’t reach the line before the beep, that’s your level.

“If all the kids in the world were to line up for a race, the average American child would finish at the [back] of the field,” said Grant Tomkinson, associate professor of kinesiology at UND. “Canada, on the other hand, fared moderately well placing just above middle of the pack.” Authors cited income inequality as a key finding. Countries with a big gap between rich and poor tended to have low fitness levels.

No matter what’s in your wallet, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends that kids ages 6 to 17 spend an hour doing some physical activity daily. Run, bike, swim or play outdoors — they’re all good. Not a bad idea for you to get moving, too, Mom and Dad. And kids he video games are turning you into mindless  meems of the the matrix wake up.






Keep Your Kids Active and Injury-Free

The benefits of youth sports and exercise far outweigh the risks, health experts say. And there are a number of things parents can do to help prevent injuries. For starters, look for a sport or exercise program that’s a match for your child’s ability and interests, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests. Enroll children in organized sports with properly maintained facilities. Make sure coaches are trained in first aid and CPR, and have a plan for responding to emergencies. Coaches should also be experienced in the proper use of equipment and enforce rules on equipment use, the agency advised in a news release. Parents should know that some organized sports programs include adult staff who are certified athletic trainers who know how to prevent, recognize and provide immediate care for sports injuries, according to the NIH.

 In addition, the agency offered the following tips:
  • Children should always use proper safety gear for their sport. They should also know and follow the safety rules.
  • Before and after exercise, warm-ups and cool-downs should be mandatory.
  • Kids should have access to water or sports drinks, and should drink frequently to stay properly hydrated.
  • Sunscreen and a hat (when possible) should be used to reduce the risk of sunburn.
If your child suffers a soft tissue injury (such as a sprain or strain) or a bone injury, the best immediate treatment is rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). Professional medical treatment is required for severe injuries such as fractures, joint dislocations, prolonged swelling, or prolonged and severe pain. Despite the risk of injury, exercise and sports are important for children. Physical activity reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes, helps improve social skills and sense of well-being, and helps kids learn team skills, the national health experts explained. More than 38 million U.S. children and teens engage in organized sports each year, and many more participate in informal recreational activities, the NIH release noted.


Olympic volleyball star April Ross serves inspiration to Girls Inc. in Costa Mesa

Luke Money of the LA Times caught the crowd of about 40 elementary school girls gasped when April Ross stood up — and not just because they were in the presence of an Olympian.

“I was taller than most of the boys in school,” the Costa Mesa resident said with a laugh as the girls cast astonished glances at her 6-foot-1 frame.

Her height and reach come in handy for Ross — a world-class beach volleyball player with golden aspirations for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

As Ross told the group of youngsters Wednesday afternoon at Girls Inc. of Orange County in Costa Mesa, she wasn’t always one of the top athletes in her sport.

Shea Chappell, 4, places a flower crown on April Ross during the Olympic medalist’s visit to Girls Inc. of Orange County in Costa Mesa.

Before she won a silver medal in beach volleyball at the 2012 Olympic Games in London or was a national champion at USC or starred at Newport Harbor High School, Ross was a young girl struggling to pick up the sport.

“When I started playing volleyball, I was the worst person on the team, and I’m not lying,” she said. “I was really bad. I couldn’t serve the ball over the net. I didn’t think I had a future in volleyball at all, but I loved the sport and I just loved playing.”

It took countless hours of hard work and more than a little determination for Ross, now 33, to reach her place as one of the shining stars of the sand.

That’s the message she hopes the young participants at Girls Inc. took away from her visit.

“As long as you work hard and you never give up and you keep working through those challenges, you’re going to grow and you’re going to learn and you’re always going to get better,” Ross said.

Ross visited Girls Inc. as part of the U.S. Olympic Committee‘s Team for Tomorrow program, which gives athletes a vehicle to spread Olympic values of respect, friendship and excellence.

The mission of Girls Inc. is to inspire girls to be “strong, smart and bold.” That resonates with Ross, as did the chance to speak to youngsters in her hometown.

Olympic beach volleyball silver medalist April Ross visits with youngsters at Girls Inc. of Orange County in Costa Mesa on Wednesday to talk about the importance of perseverance and a healthy and active lifestyle.

Olympic beach volleyball silver medalist April Ross visits with youngsters at Girls Inc. of Orange County in Costa Mesa on Wednesday to talk about the importance of perseverance and a healthy and active lifestyle.


“One of the biggest callings for me is playing an active part in young girls’ lives and having an impact there and being a good influence,” Ross said. “I just want young girls to be confident and strong and bold, and that’s exactly their mission. It was kind of a no-brainer for me.”

For Olivia Rogers, 10, Ross’ visit was a prime opportunity to pick up some pointers.

“I like volleyball a lot,” Olivia said. “I play with a couple of other people.”

Olivia said she’s been working to hone her serve and, after hearing about how hard Ross worked to develop her skills, she’s going to keep at it.

Ross also spoke to the girls about the importance of eating healthy and being active. The group put some of those lessons in practice Wednesday by shooting basketballs, jumping rope, twirling hoops and, of course, playing a little volleyball.

“She’s a celebrity to the girls, which is amazing,” said Ashley Cashdollar, volunteer coordinator for Girls Inc. of Orange County. “She’s coming in, bringing her silver medal with her, and the girls get to see that and now they’re thinking, ‘Oh, I can do that one day.'”

Cashdollar thinks Ross’ personal story also resonated with the kids…READ MORE

Why Should Children Play Sports?

Americans love their sports and in this article published by, Amanda Davis  gives us the benefits of why this American past time can help improve the quality of children’s lives

Sports, whether team-based or individual, are a great activity for children that provide a variety of benefits other than physical activity. Participation in sports can help build self-esteem and confidence, can motivate children to excel academically and can help build social skills. Participation also can teach children the benefits of goal-setting and practice

Social Skills
Sports participation can help children develop social skills that will benefit them throughout their entire lives. They learn to interact not only with other children their age, but also with older individuals in their coaches and sports officials. Kids learn leadership skills, team-building skills and communication skills that will help them in school, their future career and personal relationships.

Physical Activity
Physical activity is the most obvious benefit of sports participation. Children often spend too much time watching television or playing video games.But sports practices and games provide an opportunity for exercise that can help keep kids in shape and healthy… READ MORE

The science of resilience: how to teach students to persevere

The science of resilience: how to teach students to persevere

Neurologist and teacher Judy Willis shares three simple techniques to help teachers build resilience in their students

In schools today, the focus is not only on helping students pass exams, but also on improving their character by making them more resilient. Resilience in learning, as in life, is about being able to persevere through setbacks, take on challenges and risk making mistakes to reach a goal.

Studies show that resilience has a positive influence on academic performance of undergraduates, as well as their social and emotional wellbeing.

It’s not always clear, however, how to develop more resilient students. I believe there are three main areas to focus on: a child’s competence, their tolerance to mistakes, and their ability to set goals. These components help young people to sustain effort even when a challenge seems too great.

Competence builds resilience

It is not uncommon for students to come to your class with past experiences…READ MORE.


This 16-Year-Old Sprinter Is Definitely Faster Than You

Candace Hill, the “fastest girl in the world,” is turning pro after nabbing a 10-year sponsorship deal from Asics

Fast Phenom: Candace Hill, a 16-year-old high school student in Georgia, has earned the unofficial title of “fastest girl in the world” with a 10.98-second 100-meter dash—the fastest time a female teenager has ever recorded in the U.S. Now, on the cusp of what promises to be a stellar career, she’s signed a 10-year contract with Asics, which will fund her collegiate career (even though she’ll strictly be competing professionally, and not as an NCAA athlete). Before then, though, she not only has a shot to compete in the Rio Olympics—she has a shot to medal there. (For example: Her 10.98 would have tied for silver at the Beijing Olympics.) [New York Times] [Asics]

Anti-Vaccination Parents Richer, Better Educated

Anti-Vaccination Parents Richer, Better Educated

A recent study published in the “American Journal of Public Health” examined the demographics of California school students who had requested and received exemptions from mandatory vaccinations for nonmedical reasons. The study, “Sociodemographic Predictors of Vaccination Exemptions on the Basis of Personal Belief in California,” found that from 2007 to 2013 the rate of vaccine refusal for personal belief doubled, to 3.06 percent.

Though the rate of overall vaccine refusal was low in absolute terms, it has implications for what’s known as herd immunity and raises the risk of disease for the general population. The demographics of vaccine refusal reveal an interesting — and, for many, unexpected — pattern: despite overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, it’s the more educated parents who tend to reject them.

Nicholas Bakalar of “The New York Times” notes that “Exemption percentages were generally higher in regions with higher income, higher levels of education, and predominantly white populations. In private schools, 5.43 percent of children were exempt, compared with 2.88 percent in public schools. In some suburban areas, rates of exemption were near 50 percent.”

Jimmy Kimmel Taps Docs to Mock Anti-Vaccine Deniers

Part of the reason the anti-vaccination theme is so persistent is that it contains a strong conspiracy theory element. The belief is that the dangers and risks of vaccines are being intentionally hidden from the public by doctors and drug companies, in collusion with the government, for big profits. Joseph Uscinski and Joseph Parent, in their book “American Conspiracy Theories,” note that “Conspiracy theories about vaccines are partially to blame for decreased rates of vaccination and an increased incidence of disease.”

Doubts about the safety and efficacy of vaccines are not merely the domain of the conspiracy crowd but instead are occasionally spread by mainstream news media. Celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy, for example, have long raised concerns, and earlier this year one of Canada’s most respected newspapers, the “Toronto Star,” ran a front-page series of articles casting doubt on the safety of the Gardasil anti-HPV vaccine — until an outcry from doctors led to the newspaperretracting the story and its publisher saying “the paper failed the public in the way it presented its story.”

Such high-profile news stories highlighting vaccine dangers — whether eventually retracted or not — can and do influence the opinions of the educated middle and upper class.

5 Disease Outbreaks Linked to Vaccine-Shy Parents

Andrea Kitta, an Associate Professor at East Carolina University explains in her book “Vaccinations and Public Concern in History:”

“There is a discrepancy between personal health care and public health care. Autonomy and personal rights are very important to society; and North American medical culture values the rights of patients. For patients, it is acceptable to undertake a treatment when ill, but it is harder to accept a preventative measure, especially when the person in question is not sick. Add to this the risk of a health individual being potentially harmed by a preventative measure, and there is no surprise that many will refuse this treatment.”

Even those who acknowledge the safety and efficacy of vaccines may oppose them for unrelated reasons. Kitta told Discovery News, “People who choose not to vaccinate truly believe their rights are being violated and believe they are in danger of further violation … Some people will now reject vaccines solely on the basis that they feel their rights are being violated — not because they necessarily oppose or are even uncertain about vaccination.”

In an interview with Lindsay Beyerstein on the “Point of Inquiry” podcast, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, believes that the educated and wealthy parents don’t vaccinate because “they don’t fear the disease. I think it’s that simple. I think in Southern California, you’re living this wealthy, upper middle class, upper-class environment. You’re eating well, you’re exercising. You don’t see this disease so you think this is not going to happen to me, until it happens to you. That’s the way it always works with these diseases.”

Whatever the basis for a given person’s opposition to vaccination, the refusals are likely to continue. Protests against vaccinations date back centuries, often opposed not just by the poorly educated but also by those of wealth and status. Until and unless their own children are afflicted by a vaccine-preventable disease, they are likely to keep up the fight.

Source: Discovery Health

Rewriting the Rules of Youth Football

The game of football has changed and so has the view of it.  In an article written by Talal Al-Khatib for Discovery Health, be describes how around 3 million Americans kids ages 7 through 14 participate in football leagues, and an additional 1.1 million high school students play the game as well. [This] according to USA Football, the national governing body for the sport on the amateur level.

Given the risks involved with playing a contact sport at a young age, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a set of recommendations, released in the journal Pediatrics, to tackle potential safety issued faced by kids on the field.

For starters, the AAP advises that both referees and coaches enforce a zero-tolerance policy for illegal, head-first hits. These are the kinds of tackles that are most likely to result in head, neck or other injuries.

The organization also recommends that athletic trainers be made available on the sidelines during play as a means of reducing player injuries.  A study presented last week at the AAP’s national conference in Washington, D.C., found that… Read more

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