Friday, February 26, 2010

Marks drop as kids fail fitness test

I am pleased to see that age, social and economic status, gender, ethnicity, and body size were allowed for: A rare degree of sophistication. Given such controls, the study is some confirmation for the notion of general biological fitness (as shown in the fact that high IQ people tend to be healthier and live longer). One would of course expect physical fitness to be part of general biological fitness. Putting the cause the other way around and saying that fitness increased IQ is most unlikely and certainly speculative. All controlled attempts to raise IQ have found it to be most intractable

GETTING students to exercise more might not just address obesity issues, but also improve their grades. A US study found physically fit students scored higher in tests than their less fit peers. Test scores dropped more than one point for each extra minute it took middle and high school students to complete a 1600m run/walk fitness test, according to Dr William J McCarthy and colleagues at the University of California in Los Angeles. For optimal brain function "it's good to be both aerobically fit and to have a healthy body shape", Dr McCarthy said.

Dr McCarthy's team compared physical fitness and body weight measures with scores on California's standardised maths, reading, and language tests among 749 fifth-graders, 761 seventh-graders, and 479 ninth-graders who attended schools between 2002 and 2003.

About half of the students were girls, 60 per cent were white, 26 per cent were of Hispanic ethnicity, and about 7 per cent each were African American and Asian/Pacific Islander. Almost 32 per cent of the students were overweight and about 28 per cent were obese, the researchers reported in The Journal of Pediatrics.

The researchers estimated students' aerobic fitness according to their times on a flat track. With a 15-minute maximum allowed time to complete the test, the boys averaged slightly less than 10 minutes, while the girls averaged a little less than 11 minutes.

Mr McCarthy's team found that nearly two-thirds of the students (65 per cent) fell below the state fitness standard for their age and gender. Compared with these students, students who met or exceeded fitness standards had higher average test scores. Allowing for age, social and economic status, gender, ethnicity, and body size did not significantly alter this association.

Compared with students of desirable weight, overweight and obese students also scored significantly lower on tests, the researchers found.


Proposed Soda Taxes Fall Flat, Says Black Activist, Calls Demonization of Carbonated Beverages Yet Another Progressive Attack on Liberty

Proposed soda taxes fall flat, according to Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network, who says the demonization of carbonated beverages is just another example of the progressive attack on liberty. "After the Obama Administration tried to put itself between me and my doctor with its health care plan, the White House - along with Governor David Paterson and Mayor Gavin Newsom - now want to come between me and my can of soda," said Borelli.

"Raising taxes during hard economic times is a horrible idea and it's doomed to failure," added Borelli. "Elected officials should be focused on lowering taxes to getting our economy growing in order to stimulate job growth. Instead you have Mayor Newsom in San Francisco and Governor Paterson in New York using the 'obesity card' to make up for their budget shortfalls. Punishing consumers, beverage companies, bottling companies and small business owners will only add to our economic troubles. These politicians need to put themselves on a spending diet and worry about their bloated budgets and let me worry about my waistline."

Borelli continued: "And then you've got Michelle Obama and the Obama Administration leaning on schools and on the beverage and snack food industries to reform their wicked ways. In spreading their gospel against sugary treats, they will hurt the ability of Paterson and Newsom to reap their sin taxes. It's clear the progressives can't have it both ways despite their ambitions. The only one harmed in the end will be the American consumer."

In New York, Governor David Paterson (D) has reintroduced a $1.28 per gallon tax on sugared sodas - a proposal he first proposed and later abandoned in 2009. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) has announced his intention to introduce legislation to impose a undisclosed fee on retailers selling sugary beverages. By targeting retailers, Newsom bypasses the need to subject the tax to a voter referendum.

At the same time, First Lady Michelle Obama is the public face of the Obama Administration's legislative drive to attack the presence of soda and snacks in schools. On February 9, she announced the "Let's Move" campaign to allegedly "end the American plague of childhood obesity in a single generation." While she asserted the role of the government would be "minor" in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America" program, her husband is creating a federal task force on the issue charged with formulating a "long-term action plan." Additionally, Obama Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on February 8 that he intends to ban candy and soda from schools. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is expected to introduce legislation codifying this ban as part of the reauthorization of school meal programs.

"Social engineering is at the heart of the progressive movement," Borelli continued. "The Obama Administration sought a cap-and-trade emissions policy that would raise energy prices and thus force Americans to use less energy. Then it was government mandates on health issues. Now, it's discriminatory taxes on food and beverages. It seems there is nothing the so-called progressives will not tax and no liberty they will not assault to support their worldview."


Soda Bad, Juice Good?…

by John Stossel

My years of consumer reporting have taught me: often what you think you know… is not so. We’re told that soda is bad, if not evil. It’s loaded with sugar. Sugar makes people fat. Rots their teeth. It provide only empty calories. On the other hand, fruit is good… and therefore fruit juice is good. Give the kids fruit juice instead of soda. Juice ads brag that fruit juice is the “natural” drink.

What the ads don’t tell you is that fruit juice contains as much sugar as Coke and Pepsi: ten teaspoons of sugar in a 12 oz. glass. The Los Angeles Times explains that fruit juice can be more fattening, and maybe worse for you, than soda: "Ounce per ounce, it contains more calories than soda, though it tends to be consumed in smaller servings. A cup of orange juice has 112 calories, apple juice has 114, and grape juice packs 152, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The same amount of Coke has 97 calories, and Pepsi has 100… Making matters worse, the human body is ill-equipped to process the sugar that is concentrated in a glass of juice. When fructose is eaten in a piece of fruit, it enters the body slowly so the liver has time to convert it into chemical energy. But a single glass of apple juice has the fructose of six apples."

I asked Sarah Wally, who speaks for the Juice Products Association, why juice companies have the nerve to promote their products as healthy. Her answer: “We have to look at the nutrient content of 100% juice. And it’s supplying important vitamins and minerals and it’s supplying a full serving of fruit in just a half a cup of fruit juice.”

In fairness, fruit juice does give you some vitamins and nutrients. But just don’t forget that it also gives you 10 teaspoons of sugar.


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