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  • Christopher Miller
    I know this is preaching to the choir, but... http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/news/story.html? id=ac54620d-3b84-4830-89bc-adadf4600706
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2005
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      I know this is preaching to the choir, but...



      Give 'em that old-time fitness; it's good enough for kids
      Phys-ed study of Mennonites finds that it's the small things that
      make you fit

      CanWest News Service

      Wednesday, July 06, 2005

      Old Order Mennonite children who walk or bike to get around and who
      do traditional farm chores are leaner, stronger and fitter than both
      rural and urban Canadian kids from mainstream society, according to a
      new Canadian study.

      The study compares 124 Mennonite children from Ontario with 275 rural
      and urban kids in Saskatchewan. All were aged eight to 13.

      The Mennonite kids have stronger grips, leaner muscles, less obesity
      and better aerobic fitness scores - even though they don't play
      organized sports or take phys-ed classes at school.

      That's because they do on average 18 more minutes a day of vigorous
      activity - through walking, traditional farming activities and
      household chores - enough to burn 40 pounds of fat in a decade.

      City children were weaker and flabbier than the Mennonites, but had
      equal heart fitness.

      Farm children were also weaker than the Mennonites, but had poorer
      cardio-vascular fitness.

      The reason is simple: Children who do more physical activity in
      small, ordinary ways, such as walking to school, are leaner and
      fitter than those who watch TV and ride school buses, says Mark
      Tremblay, who led the study.

      He teaches kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Other
      researchers come from the University of Lethbridge.

      "The Old Order Mennonites have no phys-ed in their curriculum and no
      organized sports structure in their community. What they do is play.

      "It's a stark contrast" to modern children's activity, "which is
      almost exclusively orchestrated and engineered and structured and
      facilitated by parents.

      The Old Order Mennonite kids - who are restricted from watching
      television and similar entertainment - are busier in unorganized
      ways. They just go out and play - on bikes, or in pickup baseball,
      for instance.

      "We're not going to become Mennonites," the professor says. "But what
      we can learn is that the answers to the problems probably don't lie
      exclusively in the physical education classes and sports structures.

      "There's all the other waking time in the day, when in previous
      lifestyles there was all the other activity embedded, far more
      consistently, in just the acts of daily living.

      "It accumulates over a lifetime into an enormous amount of movement."

      The Old Order Mennonite children studied near Mount Forest, Ont.
      Their sect restricts use of modern conveniences.

      "The obesity epidemic isn't because we're eating three extra-large
      pizzas every day and not moving," said Tremblay. "It's fairly small
      caloric imbalances. But it's every day. It's like these savings plans
      where you put $20 away each week for life and end up a millionaire...

      "What we're seeing in the Old Order Mennonites is the difference
      between having an obesity epidemic, and not."

      Ottawa Citizen


      Christopher Miller
      Montreal QC Canada
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