Shannon's health and fitness blog

Childhood Obesity

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States are overweight, and it’s estimated that obesity results in $14 billion per year in direct health care costs.  The U.S. is doing its part to raise awareness of the obesity issue, and has provided a downloadable toolkit full of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month resources.  For more info, visit


September 10, 2012 Posted by | Children, Exercise, Food, Health, Weight loss | , | 1 Comment

Origins and Evolution of the Western Diet: Health Implications for the 21st Century

I know this video is long, but please take the time to watch.  I really didn’t think I would sit and watch the entire thing, but I was so fascinated that I couldn’t tear myself away.  This is the researched and scientific study of the evolution of man and our diet, from millions of years ago to present day, as well as the health implications of the changes we have made to our diet.  This presentation will answer any question you have as to whether our diet should be meat based or vegetarian.  It discusses grains and the implications on our health.  It shows how dairy contributes to osteoporosis by disrupting our acid-base balance.   He also talks about oils and sugars and the effect on our health.  I found it interesting that the year that high fructose corn syrup was introduced into our diet was the same year I started gaining weight as a child.  Make sure you listen to questions from the audience at the end where he addresses how our diet increases inflammation in our body and it’s effect on the liver.  I was shocked to find out that people are now primarily getting cirrhosis of the liver from obesity, rather than alcohol use!

January 23, 2012 Posted by | Food, Health, Weight loss | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Investing in your Health

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the healthiest female eaters spent 24% more on groceries, but had lower rates of angina, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Anyone who has even tried to eat healthy foods knows that it costs more.  Unfortunately, healthy foods are more expensive than the unhealthy stuff.  This is a problem that needs to be changed, so that a healthier lifestyle is accessible to everyone.  However consider this- a number of studies show that the cost of obesity is $4879 a year for women and $2646 a year for men.  These costs were attributed to higher medical bills, sick days, lost productivity, and wage differences.  I wonder if they even factored in the increase in health insurance.  When you consider the unnecessary years of lost life and the cost of being obese, is living a healthy lifestyle really that expensive?

I guess you can choose to invest now by buying fresh, healthy foods or you can pay for it later in medical costs.

March 24, 2011 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

This is easy!

Action for Healthy Kids

We’re Making Kids and Schools Healthier!

With programs like Game On! The Ultimate Wellness Challenge and our new Get in the Action initiative, Action for Healthy Kids is making a difference in students’ lives. Last school year we showed 4.5 million kids in 9,200 schools in 1,300 school districts nationwide how to eat right and stay active every day so they’re ready to learn.

Students in Ocala, Fla., who learned to eat healthy and move more raised their standardized test scores. And inChicago we’re refurbishing one school’s cafeteria, complete with a fully-stocked salad/fruit bar, and building an indoor-fitness center in another – all as part of Get in the Action. It’s America’s first volunteer service initiative designed to make healthful, sustainable improvements to schools. As Idida Perez, of Chicago’s Frederic ChopinElementary explains, we get the job done!

Students and school leaders count on us. Can we count on you to help is win a $50,000 anti-obesity grant from the Aetna Foundation? The online voting ends Tuesday; we’re in 4th place and battling to move back up to 1st place where we belong. So we need your votes now more than ever. Remember, if everyone who supports us votes 25 times – and encourages family, friends, colleagues, and classmates to do the same – we can win and more schools and kids will win too! So, if you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to vote now.

Thank you for voting for Action for Healthy Kids!

Action for Healthy Kids

September 28, 2010 Posted by | Children, Food, Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Support the health of our children

Action for Healthy Kids addresses childhood undernourishment, obesity and prevention by working with schools to help kids learn to eat right and be active everyday.  They partner with families, community members, professionals and businesses to support schools in this effort.  Action for Healthy Kids help school districts and schools improve the quality of food in schools, enhance nutrition education, improve physical education, and increase opportunities for kids to be active.

Action for Healthy Kids is trying to win a $50,000 grant provided by Aetna.  Please take a moment to vote for them and help pull them into first place.  Each person can vote 25 times.  Thank you for supporting the health of our children!

Action for Healthy Kids

Help Us Retake First Place

The campaign to win a $50,000 grant through the Aetna Foundation’s online Fight Childhood Obesity Grant Contest is hot, and we really need your help.

Thanks to the many of you who’ve already voted and generated more than 14,100 votes. However, we’re in a distant 2nd place to the Connecticut Girl Scouts, and the third place holder is nipping at our heels. So, we need everyone who knows all the great work we do to keep kids healthy and ready to learn to generate thousands more votes for us.Hear why Idida Perez at Chopin Elementary in Chicago thinks Action for Healthy Kids deserves your votes. If everyone who supports us votes 25 times – and encourages family, friends and colleagues to do so – we can win!

If you haven’t voted yet, please take just a few minutes and do it now. Then, use the share tools provided by the foundation to pass the word through your personal networks. It’s easy. Remember, a vote for Action for Healthy Kids is a vote to end childhood obesity and we can’t do it without you.

Thank you for voting for Action for Healthy Kids!

Action for Healthy Kids

September 22, 2010 Posted by | Children, Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All this talk about bodies

This topic has been weighing on my mind heavily lately, not sure I can fit it all into one post. Last week I was reading a news article about pro-ana websites. I didn’t even know these sites existed and am appalled at what is openly available to so many young girls. For those who don’t know, these are pro-eating disorder websites that offer support and encouragement to people who have anorexia or bulimia and don’t want help. They give tips on how not to eat, how to distract yourself from hunger, and even sell diet pills. I checked out a few, and some had links to blogs of anorexics. The self hate and need to control were disturbing. Many are suffering from anxiety and the only way they know how to control their world is by controlling what they eat. One website had a poem:

Starvation is control

Control is tough

Bones are beautiful

When skinny just isn’t enough

It makes you wonder what our society is doing to women.  Well…just take a look…

Then I thought how ironic it is that we are working so hard to reduce obesity in this country while these girls are starving to death.  Both issues lead to disease and death, but at opposite ends of the spectrum.  All this talk about being too fat or too thin, and we wonder why young girls have poor body image.

Next, I thought back to an article about Serena Williams and the sexy outfit she chose to wear on the court.  I thought it looked great on her, she has an amazing muscular body and she likes to throw a little spice into her wardrobe.  So what!  I was disgusted by the comments made by men and women alike about how she looked like a man and shouldn’t be dressing like a girl!  Really?  So now a woman can’t be fit and muscular because that makes her too manly. 

We all come in different shapes and sizes and can’t all fit into one mold of “perfect” , whatever that is.  All this talk needs to be about health, because that’s all that really matters.  Are you healthy?  Your body won’t be if your mind isn’t.  Young girls’ minds are being made sick by the media and our society who endorse it.  The next time you hear a young girl say she isn’t pretty enough, or doesn’t have the right hair or the right make-up or needs to look like the girls in the magazines, show her this.

Then tell her that she’s beautiful just the way she is.

June 28, 2010 Posted by | Children, Food, Health | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment