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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Yes, there are couch potatoes in England too



Kidstv Move away from the telly, kids.

That stern message is being broadcast across the United Kingdom today by government ministers concerned over rising levels of childhood obesity. From Ascot to Worcestershire, couch potatoes are being urged to rise and break a sweat.

"It is tempting to stay in, turn on the telly and tuck into a family box of chocolates during this time of year," admitted Kevin Brennan, minister of children, schools and families. "(But) the holiday season is a great chance to spend quality time together, be active with your children and work off some of the Christmas excess.”

American kids could use the same advice, according to a report last spring by a blue-ribbon panel that included representatives from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and American Academy of Family Physicians.

The U.S. doctors got in some hot water over their use of the term "obese" to describe children who weigh above the 95th percentile on pediatric growth charts. But panelists said they needed to send a clear message about the health risks facing seriously overweight kids.

"The rest of the world uses that terminology already," said Dr. Reginald Washington, medical director of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Cardiology in Denver. "It's not necessary to address the child or family in these terms, but as far as medical terms, a child above the 95th percentile is obese."

Weather forecasters say it won't get warmer than 53 degrees Fahrenheit today in London.

But Floridians have no such excuse, with temperatures pushing 80 degrees today in Tampa. The sky is blue, and there's a nice breeze coming off the Gulf of Mexico.

So listen up, kiddos: Get up, get outta the house!

-- Tom Marshall, Times staff writer; Image, The Daily Mail

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:31am]


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