A Book Review

Fit Kids
DK Publishing, 2004
Mary L. Gavin, M.D. ; Steven A. Dowshen, M.D.; Neil Izenberg, M.D.

Following is the book index for Fit Kids:

  1. Children’s weight and fitness

  2.  Principles of nutrition

  3. Principles of fitness

  4. The first year

  5. Toddlers 1 – 3 years

  6. Preschool kids: 3 – 5 years

  7. School age kids: 6 – 12 years

  8. Adolescents: 13 – 18 years

  9. Special concerns

  10. Healthy recipes

How does weight gain affect school performance?

How much exercise is enough?  According to these doctors, preschool and elementary children should have 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity every day and at least 1 hour of free play.  Teens should have 20 – 30 minutes of vigorous activity at least three times a week.

Obesity and overweight causes unnatural sleep habits such as sleep apnea, a breathing difficulty which disrupts sleep.  Lack of sleep affects school performance because children are too tired to pay attention.  Many will fall asleep in class or have a lack of focus.

Statistics show that 20% of overweight 4 year olds will be an overweight adult but 80% of overweight teens will be obese adults.

Breakfast for any age is important but for a teen it is essential to their growing bodies and minds.  Breakfast helps the student to focus better and therefore they will do better in school.  Breakfast should be eaten within the first hour of awakening.  If teens don’t eat breakfast they are less attentive in school.

Many teens have diets low in iron and iron is a key component to moodiness.  Iron is essential for hemoglobin (blood) which carries oxygen to tissues throughout the body. Oxygen is needed in the brain for alertness.  A deficit in iron can cause behavior and learning problems.  Iron comes from red meat, dried beans, leafy green vegetables and whole grains.


4 – 8 year olds

9 – 12 year olds

Girls: 13 – 18 year olds 

Boys: 13 – 18 year olds

10 mg/day

8 mg

15 mg

12 mg

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