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Alexandra Williams

Alexandra Williams has taught fitness for 17 years and has a master’s degree in agency counseling, with an emphasis on marriage and family. Her professional training has forced her to scrutinize her own value system, especially as she attempts to raise ethical children. The author wishes to thank Jack Raglin and Jim Gavin for their helpful insights and suggestions.

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Article Archive

Freekeh Out!

March 14, 2013

It’s so tempting to say, “Freekeh Friday,” but freekeh is actually good for you any day of the week. An ancient grain (mentioned as early as the 13th century), freekeh is made from green wheat that’s sun-dried, roasted, thrashed and then further sun-dried.

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Obese Children More Vulnerable to Food Advertising

February 18, 2013

When viewing food logos, obese children show less activity in regions of the brain associated with self-control than do their healthy-weight counterparts, reports The Journal of Pediatrics.

Researchers from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the University of Kansas Medical Center tested youth aged 10–14, using both self-reported measures of self-control and functional magnetic resonance imaging, which tracks blood flow as a measure of brain activity.

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Time to Eat Rye Crackers? Whole Grains and Prediabetes

February 18, 2013

More whole-grain good news, this time from Sweden. Over 5,500 Swedish residents tracked and measured their intake of whole and refined grains. Ten years later, those who ate more than 59 g (about 2 ounces) of whole grains per day were 27% less likely to becomeprediabetic than those who ate 30 g or less. \

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Top 5 Health Trends

February 17, 2013

The National Consumer Research Institute has come out with its list of the five top health trends. The institute studied health-related attitudes and behavior in the U.S. to formulate trends expected to make headlines for the rest of the year.

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Food Focus: Freekeh

February 17, 2013

It’s so tempting to say, “Freekeh Friday,” but freekeh is actually good for you any day of the week. An ancient grain (mentioned as early as the 13th century), freekeh is made from green wheat that’s sun-dried, roasted, thrashed and then further sun-dried.

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Vegetables at Dinner and Perceptions of the Meal and the Cook

February 17, 2013

Do you want your kids to perceive you as a lovable and talented dinner chef? Try adding vegetables to the nighttime meal. In a recent study, published online by Public Health Nutrition (2012 [1–7]; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980012004673), researchers discovered that meal preparers were rated higher on qualities such as “loving,” “thoughtful,” “attentive” and “capable” when they included vegetables with the meal.

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Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents: An Update

February 17, 2013

The Federal Trade Commis­sion has released its Review of Food Marketing to Children and Adolescents, and the conclusions indicate that there is still much to be done if industry self-regulation of food marketing to children is to become an effective way to protect the health of minors. The 2012 report is a follow-up to the FTC’s 2008 report, which Congress requested in response to dramatic increases in childhood obesity rates.

Four of the Marketing Methods

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Fewer, Larger Meals May Be Healthier Option for Obese Women

February 17, 2013

It may sound counterintuitive, yet new research from the University of Missouri, Columbia, suggests that eating fewer, larger meals may prove healthier for obese women than eating smaller meals more often. More specifically, consuming three substantial meals per day instead of six small meals may decrease obese women’s risk of developing heart disease.

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High-Fructose Corn Syrup and Type 2 Diabetes

February 17, 2013

According to a recent study by researchers from the University of Oxford and the University of Southern California, there is a correlation between frequent use of high-fructose corn syrup and higher rates of type 2 diabetes. The findings were published online in Global Public Health (doi:10.1080/17441692.2012.736257).

Analyzing data on HFCS availability in 42 countries, the researchers found an 8% rate of diabetes in countries where use of the sweetener is high versus a 6.7% rate in countries where it is not used.

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Preadolescents, Obesity and Exercise

December 6, 2012

Preadolescence is a time of major change and growth, bringing psychological, physical and social shifts for boys and girls alike. Caught between the carefree days of childhood and the first throes of being a teenager, “tweens” (roughly aged 9–12) are a force to be reckoned with. Like many other populations, preadolescents are suffering from lack of exercise, which threatens to chart a course toward obesity and disease.

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Group Fitness Must-Haves

July 1, 2012

Thirty years ago there was really just one option in group fitness: high-impact aerobics. Now, as IDEA Health & Fitness Association turns 30, there are many wonderful choices. It’s impossible to list the current top 30. Here, we review some of the programs that are enticing people into the world of group exercise. From the…

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Childhood Obesity Doomsday Countdown

October 17, 2011

Since 1980, global obesity has more than doubled. Sixty-five percent of the world’s people now live in countries where overweight and obesity cause more deaths than underweight. In 2010, nearly 43 million children below the age of 5 were overweight (WHO 2011). In spite of global awareness and isolated attempts to face this crisis head-on, the fact remains that our kids are fat and getting fatter.

Obesity is preventable. If we don’t help our children find their way out of the downward spiral of obesity, what will their world be like when they grow up?

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Recruiting Staff via Social Media

September 2, 2011

As a manager or director, you’re constantly keeping your ears and eyes open at your facility for potential new trainers and instructors. That’s smart. What’s even smarter is also to use social media, such as Twitter™, Facebook and LinkedIn®, to support your search.

For many years, clubs have successfully offered in-house training programs as a recruitment tool. Most of the “fishing” has been through in-house communications: member announcements, one-on-one solicitations of star students, member inquiries, staff recommendations and so on.

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Exercise and Sexual Health

May 25, 2011

What is sexual health? One definition includes the phrase “a capacity to enjoy and control sexual behavior without fear, shame or guilt” (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary 2009). The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the term in part as “a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality” (WHO 2011). Sexual dysfunction is broadly defined as “disorders that interfere with a full sexual response cycle. These disorders make it difficult for a person to enjoy or to have sexual intercourse” (Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine 2008).

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Certification Update

May 3, 2011

There is much talk about certification, accreditation and licensure in the fitness industry today. As you start your career, it is important to have a grasp of this trio of topics because they can affect your ability to get hired and work legally. Just the terms themselves and their word cousins can be very confusing-—so confusing, in fact, that this article includes a glossary to help you navigate through and clearly understand the differences among them.

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Music Licensing Mayhem: How Will Fees Affect YOU?

January 31, 2011

July 2013; $10 per class in July 2014;
$12.50 per class in July 2015; and finally
$15 per class beginning in July 2016
(Fitness Australia 2010).

Until the outcome of an appeal filed by
Fitness Australia is known, these fees will be
collected and held in a “suspense” account,
to be paid to the PPCA or refunded to the
fitness facilities accordingly (Fitness
Australia 2010).

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Thailand: An Ancient-Modern Fitness Marriage

October 19, 2010

Many people know where to go to find Thai food, yet are unsure where to find Thailand. The country is bordered to the north and west by Burma; to the north and east by Laos; and to the southeast by Cambodia. The southern, skinny “tail” is between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, with Malaysia at the very southern tip.

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Leading the Way, L.A. Style

September 29, 2010

At the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles August 5, the glitz, glamour and glee were ubiquitous as IDEA honored five outstanding contributors to the world of fitness and health during the 2010 IDEA World Fitness Convention™. Innovators in their communities, inspirational around the world and determined to make positive, lasting change, this year’s award recipients shone in the spotlight they so rightly deserved.

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