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Interview with Kelli Calabrese on tech tools to foster fit families

Techie tools for fostering fit famileis
Kelli Calabrese - Publicity Still used by Permission

As parents we have a laundry list of items to worry about. However, with the current numbers regarding childhood obesity, the fitness of our families rates highly. But we don't just get fit overnight so parents and children may become frustrated with the time and effort it takes. Tech tools such as the ones which fitness expert Kelli Calabrese has shared with me can provide not only helpful information but some of the instant gratification of knowledge and progress that many families may be looking for.

Houston Family Examiner: As parents we hear a great deal of information and mis-information about childhood obesity. Where can we get just the facts?

Fitness expert Kelli Calabrese: As parents we need to find out how much do we really know? Two helpful tools are available online and are free. Try the quiz available at the Discovery Health Web site as well as one developed by Professor Diane Ward at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health titled “Is your child at risk of becoming overweight?” Both are equally helpful for keeping parents well-informed.

Houston Family Examiner: Many parents may have read that Body Mass Index (BMI) is a reliable indicator of body fat levels for most children and teens, and offers an inexpensive and easy-to-perform method of screening for weight categories that may lead to health problems. What can we as parents do to find out more about this?

Fitness expert Kelli Calabrese: BMI is age- and sex-specific. A BMI Calculator for Children and Teens ages 2-19 years old is freely available at the Centers for Disease Control Web site. The Children's Energy (Calories) Needs Calculator developed by Baylor College of Medicine is another useful online tool that calculates how many calories a child needs each day, based on height/weight/physical activity level.

Houston Family Examiner: For those of us interested in self-help books what are some recommendations you have for us?

Fitness expert Kelli Calabrese: One eBook of note is the award-winning fictional children’s story “Making Healthy Choices—A Story to Inspire Fit, Weight-Wise Kids ” This eBook, available in both a Boys’ and Girls’ edition, is identical to its paperback counterpart and includes a bonus recipe section only available with the eBook.

Houston Family Examiner: There seems to be "an app for that" for just about every topic. What about for fostering fitness in your family?

Fitness expert Kelli Calabrese: There are a number of sound APPs on the market to help kids eat healthy and get active. “Healthy Eating, Healthy You” features exclusive healthy recipes developed by chefs at MGM Resorts. Another APP titled “Child Obesity Guide” provides caregivers with assessment and planning tools. It includes chapters on “How to Diagnose Obesity, “Meal Planning,” and “Using Labels to Eat Healthy.” An APP titled “Nutrition and Healthy Eating” provides three fun science-based learning games for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Houston Family Examiner: Children love to play online games. Is there one or more that you would recommend to help families wanting to get and stay fit?

Fitness expert Kelli Calabrese: Kidnetic, which is produced by Kraft Foods, is one great interactive Web site featuring a myriad of cool games, scavenger hunts, challenges and even a cool “Move Mixer” dance designer. The CDC’s BAM! Body and Mind Web site also offers online games that teach kids about the body and mind.

Houston Family Examiner: Children seem to really enjoy video clips, whether for fun or fitness. What recommendations do you have for those wanting video assistance?

Fitness expert Kelli Calabrese: There are many helpful videos that pertain to childhood obesity that are both educational and informative. One such initiative is spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama, and it provides information, knowledge, moving and inspirational documentaries showcasing kids who have changed their lives for the better through good nutrition and fitness.

Thank you so much Kelli, for taking the time to share these techie tools which foster not only fit kids, but fit families.

More about Kelli Calabrese: Calabrese is a leading fitness, nutrition and lifestyle coach for almost 3 decades, has owned and operated fitness centers and corporate programs, was the lead fitness expert for eDiets, and edited fitness professional magazines.

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