Active for Life, From the health and wellness experts at IU  

Why should kids have all the fun?

Active Party If the thought of another wedding shower or run-of-the mill mixer leaves you yawning, channel the child inside and plan an active-themed gathering. Active-themed parties can liven up social gatherings, teach new skills and reinforce the fun of physical activity. An IU expert provides ideas for fun and movement that will help you and your friends celebrate any special occasion.  Full Story

 The exercise hook: It's different for men and women

Weight lifting

Men and women who work out frequently appear to have different reasons for sticking to a exercise program. Researchers at Indiana University found, in a recent study of college students, that sticking to an exercise program was associated with a number of factors for women, including confidence using exercise equipment, positive body image and a preference for aerobic exercise such as running or swimming. For men there was one clear influence on keeping up a workout regimen: strength training.

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 Watch those calories

Sometimes a small change is what it takes to make the scale tip the other way. That's what Dr. Sara Blackburn told a patient who wanted to lose weight. After switching from regular soda to diet, the patient lost 75 pounds. But when watching what you eat, is it better to cut calories or cut fat? Blackburn, clinical associate professor in the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at the IUPUI School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, gives her advice.

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 Smoking tax leads kids to kick the habit

cigarette butt in ashtray

Guess which strategy is more effective in preventing kids from smoking -- education or taxes? The surprising answer is that taxes are much more effective than educational campaigns in deterring underage smokers, said Stephen J. Jay, professor of medicine and public health at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Nearly all smokers start before legal age, he said, and informing kids about the health risks of smoking is an important goal. However, the most effective strategies for prevention are policy changes that affect the pervasiveness and availability of tobacco products.

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 Your questions for the "Father of Aerobics"

Reader response

Kenneth Cooper, a pioneer in preventive health and the "Father of Aerobics," will help celebrate the 60th anniversary of Indiana University' s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation by delivering a free, public address on April 4 and participating in a daylong symposium featuring HPER research on obesity and aging well. Active for Life is running a Q&A with Dr. Cooper next month, featuring questions submitted by you.

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 Home ownership is within reach for people with disabilities

house image

Financial constraints, home design issues and uninformed attitudes can be barriers to home ownership for people with disabilities. However, these setbacks can be overcome. Independent housing can be just as convenient as group living for people with disabilities. "It just takes some planning and creative thinking to get started," said Teresa Grossi, director for the Center on Community Living and Careers (CCLC) at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University Bloomington. Grossi offers several tips for homebuyers with disabilities.

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 An IU researcher offers social skills solutions for children with autism spectrum disorders

As a growing number of parents know, the most heartbreaking aspect of autism spectrum disorder is the difficulty children have in building and maintaining social relationships. In the book Building Social Relationships, Indiana University researcher Scott Bellini demonstrates that children with autism not only want to develop social relationships, but also are indeed able to build meaningful friendships with peers once they have received effective social skills training.

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 Previous issue

Valentine's Couple

In the last issue of Active for Life, a couple shares how exercising together is more enjoyable than going solo. Other features in this issue include tips for parents who are nervous about talking to their children about love, tips for getting your workout in when it's cold, tips to help swimmers turn their fitness or competitive desires into practice and how our bodies interact with our environment to produce better information for the brain. Staffers Ken Kingery and Nicole Roales share their speed dating experience in this week's blog.

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