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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Can a Text a Day Keep the Doctor Away?

Experts agree that the best way to conquer our nation's current health crisis of overweight and obesity, especially in children, is through a collaborative effort from all public and private sectors - government, citizens, schools, the medical community, as well as nonprofit and for-profit organizations.  To be effective, this effort has to start with the individual.  Citizens need to begin assuming responsibility for their own health.  This can prove to be a challenge for the typical American household in this day and age of tight schedules wrought with work and family obligations.  Eating prepackaged foods and opting for automated forms of transportation are much more convenient.  Besides, who has the time to stand in the grocery aisle comparing the nutrition labels of food products or the time to factor how much exercise is needed to negate what you have eaten?

The answer to this dilemma could be in the palm of your hand (or your back pocket or the bottom of your purse for that matter) - your cell phone.  Recent data indicates that more than 285 million Americans have a cell phone.  It is estimated that 93% of adults ages 18-29 years old own a mobile device; and, that 71% of children ages 12-17 years old have a cell phone.  At one time, many cell phone owners used them only in a case of emergency.  Now, these devices can be used to promote your health as well as to protect it.

In the present age, many medical facilities and computer technology companies are offering health and fitness tools online or through smart phone applications, with positive results for their users.  One study published in the May 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine found that web-based smoking cessation programs proved to be beneficial for adult smokers.  Another investigation published in the November 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that there was a trend supporting the use of text messaging to help children and their parents monitor behaviors that effect body weight (e.g., consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, physical activity, and screen time).

These wireless options can serve as your portal to improved dietary and exercise habits.  At a click of a button you can access a program that customizes a plan based on your current medical history, physical activity level, and desired diet plan and health and fitness goals.  Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of participating in a discussion regarding one such product that was launched today - PICKKA's "Shop to Lose" application for the iPhone.

"Shop to Lose" creator, Dr. Charles Koo, CEO, Chairman, and co-founder of Evincii/PICKKA, developed the iPhone application to help users to virtually navigate through the grocery store shelves to find food items that promote a "healthy pantry" which, in turn, will help to control body weight and foster health.  According to Dr. Koo, the concept behind the product is that "you eat what you buy."  If you stock your pantry with healthy foods, you are more likely to adhere to a diet that promotes well-being and one that reduces the risk for the development of chronic diseases.  The nutrition information of over 130,000 products, including fresh and packaged foods found in grocery stores and menu items served at major restaurants, are at your fingertips through PICKKA's "Shop to Lose" application.

"Shop to Lose," like many other smart phone health and fitness applications, allows you to customize a plan based on your medical history, physical activity level, and desired diet plan.  It analyzes and screens product information based on the above data and designates foods that are healthy to keep in your pantry.  It monitors your weight and blood sugar levels as well to aid those individuals trying to manage weight or diabetes.  To learn more about PICKKA's "Shop to Lose" application for the iPhone visit their website at

Online tools and smart phone health and fitness applications are a great way to stay on track.  They offer many features that help to educate and motivate you as you navigate your way to optimal well-being.

Note:  Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.


CTIA - The Wireless Association


Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior Volume 40, Issue 6, pp. 385-391 (November 2008), "Use of text messaging for monitoring sugar-sweetened beverages, physical activity, and screen time in children: a pilot study," Shapiro, J.R., et al.

Archives of Internal Medicine, Volume 169, Number 10, May 25, 2009, pp. 929-1193, "Effects of web- and computer-based smoking cessation programs," Myung, S.K., et al.

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