For the week of April April 26 to May 2
>> Dance Dance Revolution and related knock-off games may not just be a game. A study being done by West Virginia's public employee insurance group is taking a lot at children and if dance games can help them lose weight. The group has in fact provided the Konami Dance Dance game to students in the study since it thinks it may help cut insurance costs and increase health. The participating kids will be reevaluated after three months to see if dance-dancing has helped them lose weight and get healthier.
>> On April 26, the Federal Trade Commission filed two proposed stipulated orders in federal court resolving charges that the marketers of AB Energizer, an electronic abdominal exercise belt, falsely advertised that using the AB Energizer caused weight loss, inch loss and well-defined six-pack abs without exercise. The orders are part of a settlement resolving the FTC's lawsuit and related actions brought by county and city prosecutors in California. Under the settlements, AB Energizer marketers and certain retailers will pay more than $2 million, of which $1.4 million will be for consumer redress. The balance will go to the California prosecutors for costs and civil penalties. The FTC and California orders bar the defendants from making the challenged false advertising claims for the AB Energizer or any similar device, and contain other injunctive relief to prevent future deceptive advertising. For more information, click here or go to www.ftc.gov.
>> The ladies are doing it for themselves -- whether it be lifting, running or going to the club. According to data from NSGA's Sports Participation reports, females constitute a majority of participants in four of six fitness activities surveyed for 2004. After aerobic exercising (74 percent), females represented 50 percent or more of participants in exercise walking (62 percent), working out at a club (56 percent) and exercising with equipment (54 percent). In running/jogging, women represent 47 percent of the participants. Only in weightlifting did females fall far behind males in participation, with just 34 percent of weightlifters being female. Women were also majority participants in tai chi/yoga (87 percent) and kickboxing (68 percent). Additionally, exercise walking drew the greatest number of female participants (52.4 million), followed by swimming (28.6 million) and exercising with equipment(28.0 million). For the study, a participant is defined as someone 7 years or older who participates in a sport more than once within the year. For swimming, exercise walking, bicycling, exercising with equipment, running/jogging, weightlifting and aerobics, a participant is defined as one who is active in a sport six times or more within the year. The two-part sports participation report is based on a survey of 20,000 U.S. households. For more information, visit www.nsga.org.
>> Pacific Northwest retailer G.I. Joe's opened its 10th Washington state store in Mount Vernon on May 1 with lots of fanfare and special events. A week of festivities is planned, including in-store prizes every 30 minutes -- awarded for identifying local Mount Vernon landmarks -- a free trout-fishing pond for the kids, and a host of special in-store events and seminars. The 50,000-square-foot Mount Vernon store has been serving residents in the Skagit Valley on a limited basis since mid-April. Last year, G.I. Joe's added a fitness equipment section to its stores. G.I. Joe's (www.gijoes.com) now operates 23 stores in Oregon and Washington.
>> Now it's the Brazilians turn to be dominated by the 30-minute workout craze. GO! 30 Minute Workout plans to open 400 co-ed fitess centers in Brazil and Latin America over the next five years (how many does the world really need?). GO! 30 Minute Workout features a custom equipment circuit developed by the Brazilian manufacturer Movement. The circuit consists of 25 stations of cardiovascular, strength training and stretching exercises, designed for both beginning and advanced exercisers. The founder and president of the company is John Kersh, previously the director of international development for IHRSA, who has a long history in Brazil. Kersh has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, and he will utilize his network of contacts to build the franchise company. The first site will open in São Paulo, Brazil in May. The company expects an additional 10 sites in Brazil by the end of 2005. Franchising in other Latin American markets outside of Brazil will begin in mid-year.
>> Gold's Gym International will serve as the official national fitness sponsor of the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Tour de Cure, an annual cycling event that raises money for diabetes research, information and advocacy. It is the first time in the company's history that it has nationally sponsored a charity. Held in more than 80 cities nationwide, Tour de Cure is a series of multi-distance bike rides that raise funds to benefit ADA. Featuring 25K, 50K and 100K rides for novice and experienced cyclists, the majority of events are scheduled for May and June. Gold's locations nationwide will initiate local and national Team Gold's bike teams, host pre-ride events and launch fund-raising activities to raise funds. For more information, visit www.goldsgym.com.