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Entries in child and adolescent health (17)


New E-book: Active Kids in the School & Community

Children who are physically active have better academic test performance, a lower risk of developing diabetes, and increased confidence and self-esteem—but few are getting enough exercise. To help solve this problem, many health clubs have joined other institutions, like schools and healthcare centers, to encourage kids to become more active. 

IHRSA’s new e-book, Active Kids in the School & Community, highlights seven IHRSA member clubs that are running successful programs and initiatives to get kids moving in their communities. 

There are four common themes among the successful clubs featured in the e-book: 

1. Emphasis on Character Building 

Many of the clubs interviewed aren’t just focused on providing opportunities and spaces for kids to get their heart rate up and burn calories—they are also providing programs that foster important character qualities in kids, such as teamwork, sportsmanship, empathy, confidence, and self-esteem. Ultimately the focus for many clubs goes beyond getting kids to be physically active right now to building character traits that will last a lifetime. 

2. Meeting Kids Where They Are 

When it comes to kids’ programming, offering age-appropriate opportunities is one of the most important things to do. Each of the clubs highlighted finds success by providing fun, age friendly options from tennis to sports training to play spaces. 

3. Community Service 

Many of the clubs who offer programming for children feel the higher calling to community service, and this calling often plays a large role in the development of each program. In addition, the focus on community outreach and health is often part of the clubs’ branding, and the programs only solidify their commitment to and reputation for service and community engagement. 

4. Hiring The Right People 

Finding the right person to run programs for kids emerged as an important consideration. It is important to staff your program with someone who enjoys working with kids, is passionate about what they do, and has experience with the type of program the club is running—from tennis to fitness to active play.

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This Week in the Fitness Industry: New Anytime Fitness HQ To Feature Luxe Amenities 

New Anytime Fitness Headquarters Will Include a Zip Line and Tattoo Parlor
Anytime Fitness’ new corporate campus will feature high-end amenities, including a rock climbing wall, a zip line, an obstacle course, biking and hiking trails, and a smoothie bar that becomes a cocktail bar by night, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports. Staff will have access to all of these facilities when the new space opens in Hastings, MN, this spring. “Anytime Fitness owners and east metro creative entrepreneurs Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen decided to lay down the gauntlet and up the ante by adding an on-site tattoo parlor at the new corporate campus,” the Pioneer Press reports. “Why? Members and franchisees of the world’s fastest-growing fitness club chain are so passionate about the brand that more than 3,000 of them have tattooed themselves with the company’s Running Man logo.” 

Study: Millennials Are Serious About Running
Millennials make up nearly half of all runners in the U.S. and are seriousi about the sport, according to a study sponsored by RacePartner, Running USA, and Achieve, reports. The study surveyed more than 15,000 runners born between 1980 and 2000 and found that upwards of 80% are frequent or serious runners. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed said they ran some sort of event last year and 76% said they run all year long. “They haven’t always been runners, though. About half of respondents have been running less than five years, and about one-third have been running for six to 10 years,” the article states. “Basically, they’re responsible for the creation and success of bouncy-house 5Ks, mud runs, dine-and-dash races, and every other wacky running opportunity you've heard of in the last few years.”

Adidas Partners with Yoga Lifestyle Event Company
Adidas announced it forged a multi-year partnership with Wanderlust, a yoga lifestyle event company geared toward elevating millennial fitness engagement, Adidas said in a release. The goal of the partnership is to pair Wanderlust events with Adidas products. Highlights for the partnership in the coming year include Adidas being a presenting partner of Wanderlust’s U.S.-based events and Adidas presenting the largest yoga venue, running, and hiking programs for Wanderlust’s four multi-day summer festivals. “The landscape of sport is changing and it is the female versatile athlete who is leading this shift. She is dedicated to maintaining an active lifestyle and yoga plays a key role in her fitness routine,” Nicole Vollebregt, Adidas’ head of women’s, said in the statement. “The partnership with Wanderlust allows us to reach these women in a new and exciting way as they participate and bond together in a broad range of sports at events across the US.”

High-Impact Exercise Helps Men Strengthen Bones, Prevent Osteoporosis
Men who engage in high-impact exercises and resistance training as teenagers and young adults are likely to have greater bone density by middle age, according to a study published in the American Journal of Men's Health. The study’s researchers, who analyzed data compiled from 203 men aged 30 to 65, said the resulting higher bone density may prevent osteoporosis. "While osteoporosis is commonly associated with only postmenopausal women, it is, in fact, a serious issue for men as well," said the study’s lead author. "Indeed, research has shown that the consequences of osteoporosis can be much worse for men, as they are less likely to be diagnosed and are at a greater mortality risk from fractures that occur as a result of a fall."

Incorporating Exercise into Children’s Lessons May Enhance Learning
A new study suggests that lessons that integrate exercise into learning may help children get better grades—particularly when it comes to memorization. Reuters reports that the small Dutch study, which focused on 500 students in second and third grade, found the group that received instruction supplemented with physical activity had significantly higher scores in math and spelling than their peers who received traditional lessons. "Previous research showed effects of recess and physical activity breaks," the study’s lead author said. "However, we think that the integration of physical activity into academic lessons will result in bigger effects on academic achievement.”


Poor Physical Fitness Linked to Cardio-metabolic Risk Factors in Children

A study in the International Journal of Obesity looked at the relationship between physical fitness and cardio-metabolic risk factors in a group of European children. The study included 1,635 kids ages 6-11 and results were measured over the course of two years. Fitness was assessed with cardiorespiratory fitness, lower and upper limb strength, balance, flexibility, and speed.

The results showed that low levels of physical fitness were associated with a higher risk of having multiple metabolic risk factors. Overall, cardio-respiratory fitness and lower limb strength were most predictive of cardio-metabolic risk factors, namely waist circumference, blood lipid levels, and insulin resistance. Fitness was not found to be predictive of high blood pressure. Health clubs provide a safe, supportive place for kids to be physically active and maintain fitness levels. 

Zaqout M, Michels N, Bammann K, Ahrens W, Sprengeler O, Molnar D, Hadjigeorgiou C, Eiben G, Konstabel K, Russo P, Jimenez D, Moreno LA, De Henauw S. Influence of physical fitness on cardio-metabolic risk factors in European children. IDEFICS study. Int J Obes (Lond). 2016 Feb 9. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2016.22. [Epub ahead of print]

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2016 Legislative Opportunities: Child and Adolescent Health and Physical Activity 

This post is the second in a series of four that demonstrate how IHRSA works to promote legislative opportunities that would increase access to regular physical activity and healthy lifestyles. View the first post here.

The child obesity and physical inactivity epidemics in the United States are well known; currently about 17% of children and adolescents are obese, and obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for heart disease, to have pre-diabetes, and to experience bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and psychological problems. 

According to the CDC, only 27% of high school students get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Making matters worse, only a handful of states mandate physical education, and those with P.E. mandates on the books don’t always enforce them. 

While children and adolescents make up only a small proportion of health club users, the industry has an interest in raising a healthy, active generation. Kids who are active in childhood are more likely to remain active into adulthood, and physically active adults are always looking for a place to exercise (preferably your club). 

IHRSA is working with our lobbyists and legislatures across the U.S. to advocate for policies that encourage physically active lifestyles and increase opportunities for kids to be physically active. This can include establishing physical education or recess in schools and funding for public health campaigns promoting an active, healthy lifestyle for children. 

In New York, IHRSA is working with our lobbyist to secure funding for the Physical Fitness and Activity Education Campaign, a program run through the public health department to encourage physical activity – and ultimately improve the fitness – of New York state residents, including children. The legislation – Assembly Bill 7022 and Senate Bill 2336 – passed the New York state legislature but was ultimately vetoed at the end of the 2015 session by Governor Cuomo due to lack of funding or a funding mechanism. 

IHRSA’s New York lobbyist is working with the bill’s original sponsors as well as other members of the State Senate and Assembly to include funding for the campaign in the State budget. The Legislature will begin hearings on the Governor's budget proposal before making their amendments to the proposal, and IHRSA aims to have funding included in the changes made by the legislature during this process. 

Jim McCulley, who represents IHRSA’s interests in Albany, stressed that “on behalf of IHRSA, we are working with their representatives in the State Senate and Assembly, to include state funding for this long overdue and important program, especially in light of the increasing child obesity levels. IHRSA strongly supported the Legislature's efforts last year in passing legislation creating the campaign, and we are hopeful that they will provide funding to encourage kids to be physically active.” 

In 2015, IHRSA tracked legislation that would promote physical activity for the next generation in 16 states, and we expect a similar number of states to address this issue in 2016. 

To find out how you can advance this issue in your state, contact IHRSA’s advocacy team at

Are you working in your community to increase physical activity opportunities for kids and adolescents? Share your story with us at


This Week In Health Promotion: Breast Cancer Awareness Month and More

A roundup of what's going on in the health and wellness world this week.

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month In The US

If you happen to live in the United States, you might notice a lot more of the color pink in your day to day life this month. October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase the knowledge of and awareness about breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and around 2,350 in men this year. Learn more.

The good news is that evidence shows certain healthy lifestyle habits can help prevent breast cancer. Exercise and physical activity have been linked to lower risk of developing breast cancer, to better outcomes during treatment, and to a lower chance of recurrence. Higher consumption of fruits and vegetables has also been linked to lower breast cancer risk. 

Many organizations use October to educate the public and fundraise for breast cancer research. Is your club doing something? Let us know - email us at

For Today's Youth, Weight Loss Is Much Harder Than For Their Parents

Research from a national (U.S.) health survey suggests that factors besides diet and exercise may be leading to higher obesity rates. Data from the National Health And Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) indicates that a person in 2006 who consumed the same amount of calories and exercised a smiliar amount to someone in 1988 would have a body mass index (BMI) 2.3 points higher than their 1988 counterpart. Authors of the study cited factors like stress, sleep, and pollution as possible culprits. Read more about the study.

Of course, a limitation of this study is that it is based on self reported data, and Americans are notoriously bad at estimating how much we eat. It is possible that increasing portion sizes in the absence of a change in recommended serving sizes (for example, the nutrition facts for a Coca Cola are still for a 12 ounce can even though it usually comes in a 20 ounce bottle( have distorted our ability to estimate our intake. Replacement of active work and hobbies with sedentary ones could also be a factor.

The bottom line is that for a number of possible reasons, weight loss may be harder to achieve today than it was 30 years ago for a number of people. This elevates the importance of supportive environments that help facilitate a healthy lifestyle, like clubs. 

Exercise Lowers Risk of Suicide Among Bullied Teens

Previously, data has shown that exercise improves self confidence and self esteem among children and teens. New resarch suggests this may translate to a very imortant outcome: lower suicide rates among teens who experience bullying. The study looked at data on over 13,500 high school students and found that about 30% of bullied teens reported feeling sad for two or more weeks in the past year, with 22% thinking about and 8% attempting suicide. The research also found that being active for at least four days out of the week reduced suicidal thoughts and attempts by 23%. Read more about the study at U.S. News & World Report.

Not only does exercise improve self esteem, it also boosts mood. Many health clubs offer programs and services targeted to children, and even more clubs allow teenagers to use the club alongside adults. This resarch highlights the importance of building healthy, active lifestyles at a young age.


Healthy Diet and Physical Activity Reduce The Likelihood of Child Obesity

A study in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health used population data to examine the combined associations between diet and physical activity in relation to obesity in children and adolescents. The study used data on over 2,800 children aged 6-17 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003-2006. Diet was measured using two 24-hour recalls and assessed using a healthy eating index. Participants with a “healthy diet” scored over the 60th percentile on the index, and those classified as being “physically active” met the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity.

Results showed that kids who did not eat a healthy diet and were physically inactive were 19% more likely to be obese than those who were both physically active and ate a healthy diet. Health clubs provide a safe place for kids to be active, and many clubs offer programs specifically tailored to children. 

An R. Diet quality and physical activity in relation to childhood obesity. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2015 Aug 15. pii: /j/ijamh.ahead-of-print/ijamh-2015-0045/ijamh-2015-0045.xml. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2015-0045. [Epub ahead of print]

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Participation in Some Physical Activities In Adolescence Predicts Activity Later In Life 

Generally physical activity in childhood predicts activity later on, where more active kids tend to be more active as adults.  However, it is not known if there is any association between type of physical activity and greater activity levels in adulthood. A study in the International Journal of Behavioral, Nutrition, and Physical Activity examined this relationship, following 673 kids in Montreal, Canada, for 10 years.  Researchers looked at 29 different activities sorted into three groups: sports, fitness and dance, and running.

The study showed a positive relationship between sports and running in the early teen years (age 12-13) and physical activity at age 24. No such relationship was found for fitness and dance. Health clubs provide a safe, supportive place for kids to run and engage in a variety of sports.

Bélanger M1,2,3, Sabiston CM4, Barnett TA5,6, O'Loughlin E7,8, Ward S9,10, Contreras G11,12, O'Loughlin J13,14,15. Number of years of participation in some, but not all, types of physical activity during adolescence predicts level of physical activity in adulthood: Results from a 13-year study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015 Jun 10;12(1):76. doi: 10.1186/s12966-015-0237-x.

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