What kid doesn’t like the circus? Instead of sitting in rapt attention in the audience, students from Chicago’s Ogden School and Cicero’s Roosevelt Elementary got a chance last November to learn how to keep fit the circus performer way.

The interactive Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® CircusFit program aims to inspire healthy life choices in kids by showing them fun physical activities. Stars talk about how they became the top circus entertainers in the world by eating right and exercising.

The children at Ogden and Roosevelt Elementary learned how to keep fit using circus skills. They also learned the importance of hydration and nutrition. Under the watchful eyes of the circus performers, the kids moved from station to station practicing new skills with peacock feathers, balls, Hula-Hoops and scarves.

During a presentation at the North American Association for the Study of Obesity’s Annual Scientific Meeting in November, researchers discussed a connection between sleep deprivation and the risk of being obese—even after controlling for depression, physical activity, alcohol consumption, ethnicity, level of education, age and gender. The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I (NHANES I).

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Obesity Research Center found that subjects between the ages of 32 and 59 who slept 4 hours or less per night were 73% more likely to be obese than those who slumbered between 7 and 9 hours each night. Participants who managed only 5 hours of sleep nightly had a 50% higher risk than those who snoozed through the entire night. Subjects who usually slept 6 hours were just 23% more likely to be substantially overweight, according to the press release.

How many dollars does it take to treat the results of inactivity? Researchers set out to determine just this in a study of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota members.

Using a “cost of illness” approach to medical expenses for particular diseases, the study found that heart disease was the most expensive result of a sedentary lifestyle, costing $35.3 million in 2000. In that year, nearly 12% of depression and anxiety and 31% of colon cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and stroke cases were due to physical inactivity. This translated to $83.6 million, or $56 per member.