Health Buzz: Kids Today Are Less Fit Than Their Parents Were

7 tips for a cheap Thanksgiving meal; how one man defeated diabetes

Kids Running, Children, Health, Healthy Children, Healthy Communities, Healthiest Counties, American, United States Health
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Study: The Cardiovascular Fitness of Kids Worldwide Has Declined Since the 1970s

Many kids today can't run as far as their parents could when they were children, according to a study presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013 in Dallas. Researchers looked at 50 studies between 1964 and 2010, which covered more than 25 million children ages 9 to 17 in 28 countries. Each of the studies was about running fitness, because, although there are many different kinds of ways to be fit, "the most important type of fitness for good health is cardiovascular fitness, which is the ability to exercise vigorously for a long time, like running multiple laps around an oval track," states Grant Tomkinson, lead study author and senior lecturer in the University of South Australia's School of Health Science, in a press release. In analyzing these studies, researchers found that the cardiovascular fitness of kids around the world has lessened since about 1975. Specifically, the cardiovascular endurance of children in the United States dropped about 6 percent per decade, between 1970 and 2000. And today's kids are about a minute and a half slower in a mile run than kids were 30 years ago, according to the press release.

Kids need to get moving, Tomkinson says in the release, for their current and future health. "If a young person is generally unfit now, then they are more likely to develop conditions like heart disease later in life."

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  • 7 Tips for a Cheap Thanksgiving Meal 

    Like the patron saint of pumpkin pie, you've decided to host Thanksgiving. And you're a pro. You've anticipated the Turkey Day nightmares: You made a plan for when Aunt Ginnie and your mother get into it; you have a thawing schedule for your turkey; you've even made and frozen the pie crusts in advance. What you may not have suspected, however, is how expensive hosting such a significant meal can become.

    Not to fear. Below, Melissa d'Arabian, host of the Food Network's "Ten Dollar Dinners" and "The Picky Eaters Project" web series, and Kimberly Morales, creator of the Poor Girl Eats Well blog, share tips for dishing out a low-cost, high-class Thanksgiving:

    Go traditional. Here's a reason to give thanks: Traditional Turkey Day foods are pretty cheap! No hams or steaks for this holiday. Poultry, usually an inexpensive meat protein, is the Thanksgiving star, joined by potatoes – its trusty (and dirt cheap) sidekick. D'Arabian points out that we spend more when we turn up the wow factor, by adding fancy sides and drinks, and possibly a second main course meat. "It's the bells and whistles that are expensive in a Thanksgiving dinner," she says. [Read more: 7 Tips for a Cheap Thanksgiving Meal]

    • Bird is the Word: Your Guide to a Successful Thanksgiving
    • Lightening Up Turkey Day Favorites
    • How One Man Defeated Diabetes

      It took my stepfather, Keith Jones, 10 years to comprehend how his Type 2 diabetes was slowly destroying him, writes U.S. News blogger Kimatni D. Rawlins. But today, I'm proud to write that Keith has purged many lifelong, negative habits and has dodged the clear and present danger of the disease!

      It took years for Keith to get to this much healthier point in his life at age 58. He struggled with alcoholism for much of his adulthood, and like many other Americans, he made unhealthy diet choices. Triple-decker cheeseburgers, oily and trans-fatty french fries, ice cream, sodas, alcohol, glazed doughnuts, cookies, pulled pork, fried chicken and queso – what do you think these items have in common, besides being regulars in Keith's diet and often advertised for their emotional and savory effectiveness? Easy: They reside in a category I call Foods of Mass Destruction. They overtly assist with the degeneration of body organs and function over time, ultimately leading to sickness and disease.

      We're more reactive than proactive when it comes to the prevention of these maladies. Keith didn't even look up the meaning of Type 2 diabetes until he was diagnosed with the disease, which poses a greater risk to African-Americans (like him), Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. [Read more: How One Man Defeated Diabetes]