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Fitness vs. weight loss in kids

Posted Jul 01 2008 5:08pm

I was so excited when I started reading about a new fitness magazine for kids.

The article I found described how a Miami mother of four went looking for a magazine that would encourage her kids to live healthy, smart lives — but couldn’t find one.

So, she did a very gutsy thing: she started one and it now — two years later — has a circulation of 25,000.

The magazine is meant for kids. Although it always has a professional athlete on the cover (to attract readership), inside it provides fitness alternatives for all kids no matter what their athletic ability.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? I thought so, but then I read the magazine’s motto:

“Fighting Childhood Obesity One Kid at a Time”

Wait a minute! Physical activity is supposed to be fun and enjoyable isn’t it? — NOT as a treatment for gaining weight.

It seems to me that the goal of fitness-related activities during childhood is to discover those activities you love and in which you can participate for the rest of your life.

Instead, if we turn exercise into a weight-loss effort, doesn’t that take some (or all) the fun away?

What’s worse is there’s no evidence exercise has any impact on weight. Logically you think it would — but, according to almost all the scientific evidence, it doesn’t.

Why can’t we let exercise be just about fitness? Fitness is a wonderful thing and has incredible health benefits — but weight loss just isn’t one of them.

Allen Oelschlaeger

Author ofThe Straight Scoop About Childhood Obesity

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