Warming-up at the Body Inc., Exercise Company.
Andy Feldscher, 8, warms up.
he latest research, most children are
not physically fit. Physically fit means
the proper exercise and diet for a
The largest nationwide survey,
conducted in 1985 by the President's
Council on Physical Fitness, is an
alarming report. The sampling of al-
most 20,000 students, ages six through
17 from 187 schools across the United
States, revealed there is a low level of
performance in many components of
physical fitness, and there is no im-
. provement since 1975. The report also
finds cardiorespiratory (heart-lung)
performance at a low level.
Here are some specific findings:
Seventy percent of all girls tested
could not do one pull-up or more, and
55 percent could not do any.
Forty percent of boys ages six
through 17 could not do one pull-up or
more, and 25 percent could not do any.
Fifty-five percent of all girls
tested could not hold their chins over a
raised bar for more than ten seconds.
Forty-five percent of boys ages six
through 14 could not hold their chins
over a raised bar for more than ten
Approximately 50 percent of girls
ages six through 17 and 30 percent of
boys ages six through 12 could not run
a mile in less than 10 minutes.
"Based on the research I've done
for the last 20 years, our youngsters
are progressively deteriorating physi-
cally. Some of the deterioration may
not be statistically significant, but the
trends are downward," says Guy Reiff,
professor of physical education at the
University of Michigan. Reiff has con-
ducted five nationwide surveys, in-
cluding this one.
Another fundamental concern is
the American lifestyle and diet. Reiff
explains that the American diet is a
major cardiac risk factor with too
many fats and lack of exercise. Fast
food and junk food are mainstays in
our culture. "Also, the average Ameri-
can child watches six hours of televi-
sion a day," (a passive activity), says
Newsweek magazine reported in
1985 that Dr. Gerald Berenson of
Louisiana State University discovered
children with high cholesterol levels
and fat deposits in the arteries, when
he performed autopsies on children
who died in accidents.
According to Dr. Nathan Fires-
tone, chief of pediatrics at Huron Val-
ley Hospital, "The greatest fitness
problem in children is obesity." He
points out that there are few programs
that deal with obesity in children and
it is unrecognized by third party car-
Charles Kuntzleman, Ed.D of
Spring Arbor College in Michigan, de-
veloped a program called Feelin' Good
that reverses some unhealthy trends
in children. Feelin' Good is an
exercise-aerobic program with in-
struction on the cardiovascular system
and a healthy diet.
Continued on next page
Tips To Help
Kids Stay Fit
These suggestions are from
Dr. Guy Reiff, researcher at U-M.
1. Promote exercise at home
— walking, running, swimming.
2. Encourage children to play
with other children.
3. Don't emphasize the T.V.
4. Ask about the physical edu-
cation program at school and re-
quest emphasis on fitness.
5. Serve healthy food. Some
healthy snacks are oatmeal
cookies, juices, raw vegetables.
6. Read the book, The New
American Diet, by Sonja and