Monday, July 08, 2002

Fit bits

By Peggy O' Farrell,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Start young: Helping children visualize a “healthy plate,” exercise and remain tobacco-free are important strategies to ensure life-long heart health, say new guidelines issued recently by the American Heart Association.

        “People know that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans,but they don't fully realize that it's a silent process that begins in childhood,” says Dr. Christine L. Williams, lead author of the guidelines and past chair of the heart association's Committee on Atherosclerosis, Hypertension and Obesity in the Young.

        Initiating healthy lifestyle habits in children can cut the risk of heart disease across the population, according to the guidelines.

        Obesity rates among American youth have doubled in the last 20 years, with the biggest increases among African-American and Hispanic youth.

        Parents must lead the way to help children learn healthy habits, experts say.

        Recommendations for keeping children leaner include:

        • Teaching children what a healthy plate looks like: Half the plate should be filled with salad and vegetables, a fourth with starch, such as potatoes or rice, and a fourth with protein, such as meat, poultry, fish or soy.

        • Turning off the television: Physical activity is crucial, and parents should emphasize play rather than “exercise.”

        • Lose the tobacco: Second-hand smoke in the home means many youngsters are, in effect, already using tobacco.



               Run/Walk: Spring Light 5K Run/Walk will begin 8 a.m. Aug. 4 at the Spring Grove Cemetery. The event benefits the Cincinnati Association for the Blind. 221-8558 or

        Golf benefit: St. Elizabeth Medical Center Ambassadors will put on the annual Golf Par Tee Sept. 23 at Twin Oaks Golf and Plantation Club in Covington. Tee times are 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Registration is $1,000 per foursome. Proceeds benefit the St. Elizabeth Breast Health Center. (859) 344-3920.


Shelf help

               Pretty pictures: A picture is worth a 1,000 calories: That's the premise behind Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss 30-Day Plan (Rodale; $29.95) by Dr. Howard M. Shapiro. The book illustrates the difference in calories and servings between high-cal and low-cal food options.



               Well done: Don't forget sun protection while you're out exercising, say the experts at the American Council on Exercise.

        Their tips:

        • Slather on the sunscreen. To determine what SPF you require, follow this formula: Determine how many minutes you can be in the sun, unprotected, before you start to burn. Divide that into the total number of minutes you'll be in the sun. For example, if you burn in 10 minutes and you'll be outside for three hours, divide 180 by 10 and figure you'll need a sunscreen with an 18 SPF or higher.

        • Build a barrier. If overheating isn't a concern, a darker-colored T-shirt and shorts provides more sun protection than white clothing. And wear a hat to shield your face, head and ears from the sun.

        • Drink up. Water won't protect you from sunburn, but it will keep you from getting dehydrated, which is always a risk for the summer exerciser.

       Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone: 768-8510; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:


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