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Fit For Life...Eat Smart & Exercise

Good food, good choices, good health...good times!

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Fit For Life...Eat Smart & Exercise

The facts are shocking yet undeniable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 15% of teens in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese, putting America’s youth at risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. That’s triple the number 20 years ago, and a higher rate of teen obesity than in 14 other industrialized countries. At the other extreme, many teens are severely dieting to be “model thin,” with eating disorders also on the rise. Even those who are within normal weight ranges often eat poorly during these critical growth years, affecting their energy and concentration levels now, and creating future health problems such as osteoporosis.

In this program, which stresses a healthy lifestyle instead of dieting, four teen reporters check out the Serving Sizes on some drink labels and discover they aren‘t realistic, realizing that “We’ve been tricked!” They set out to help viewers make healthy and tasty eating choices for home, school, snacks, and even at fast food restaurants. Starting with easy-to-use tips about how to read labels, especially the “Nutrition Facts”, their surprising discoveries include: “How much sugar is in a can of non-diet soda?” (Answer: 10 - 13 teaspoons); and “How much fat is in a 5oz bag of chips?” (The equivalent of 12 1/2 pats of margarine). The program also addresses the importance of exercise, exploring ways that teens -- and anyone else -- can fit at least a daily hour of exercise into a packed schedule, such as using the 20 minutes of commercials in an hour TV program.

The program then visits the Woodlands Middle & High School in Greenburgh, New York. Through a federal grant, the school has integrated nutrition and fitness education into the regular curriculum, with a fitness facility and diagnostic equipment, plus individual nutrition analysis and counseling. Among the students, we meet Dan, a teenager who traded soda for water and made better snack and fast food choices. After six months of also working out, he lost 15 pounds and points out, “It’s not that hard, just watch how much you eat and eat good healthy foods, drink plenty of water and you’ll be fine. It’s not like you have to diet.” Kadian also found that it gave her lots of energy, adding that "It’s like my stress buster.”

In Atlanta, the hosts check out a Boys & Girls Club where middle school teens learn nutrition basics, including how to spot hidden sugar (rhymes with “gross”) in the List of Ingredients; plus practical ways to change their families’ shopping and eating habits. Through humor and personal stories, both teen and adult viewers see how they can also improve their nutrition and find time to exercise, gaining more energy and self-esteem with a healthy lifestyle. [Great resources] [Get help 24/7]

"Fit For Life...Eat Smart & Exercise" was underwritten by MetLife Foundation. The program is regularly re-broadcast on PBS
affiliates across the country. Please check our schedule for airtimes.

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