>> A pilot program has been launched in North Carolina aimed at getting kids more fit, with the hope it can be a role model for other communities nationally. Researchers there – knowing no single approach, whether it's mandating physical education classes or eliminating soft drinks from schools, will erase the obesity problem – along with Surgeon General Richard Carmona launched a pilot program aimed at reducing and preventing childhood obesity. "Get Kids In Action," a $4 million program directed by researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and underwritten by Gatorade, targets physicians, community organizations and families in a drive to make kids more physically active. Get Kids in Action will study and evaluate the various approaches to reducing obesity. In addition, Get Kids in Action also will tap into UNC's pool of student-athletes, asking them to meet with elementary and middle school students and serve as role models. At the end of the three-year, North Carolina-based program, the findings are expected to be used in a community health care tool kit and distributed nationally.
>> A controversy has developed over so-called "new" hydration advice presented in a recent British Journal of Medicine report – advice that stemmed partly from the increase in numbers of hyponatremia cases (dangerous and sometimes fatal blood dilution and low sodium caused by drinking too much water). In response to the article, which said one should let thirst guide drinking, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute and the National Athletic Trainers' Association (www.nata.org) have issued press releases refuting that advice, re-stating the widely known guideline to drink before you are thirsty since you get dehydrated before your thirst mechanism kicks in. The British Journal article by renowned author and distance running expert Timothy Noakes of South Africa claimed that American College of Sports Medicine hydration advice (www.acsm.org) tended to encourage over-hydration. Still, all parties agree that those most in danger of drinking too much are small women who are participating in endurance events like marathons at a very slow pace and drinking more than they are sweating. Bottom line: the best way to know how much you should drink is to weigh yourself, then run or exercise for 30 or 60 minutes without drinking any fluids, then weigh yourself again. All weight loss will be water so you can then calculate how much you need to drink each hour to replace your normal loss.
>> The Nautilus Group launched its "Switch" program at the recently completed IDEA conference for fitness professionals. The program allows instructors to trade in their other cycling certifications for a lifetime Schwinn cycling certification and access to the Fitness Academy resources. SNEWS View: Interesting competitive move to get instructors to move away from a competitor (such as Mad Dogg, now offering its Spinning certification through Star Trac). We hope Schwinn doesn't mean lifetime as in no continuing ed required to maintain the certification. Like any skill, this too needs ongoing updates and refreshers.
>> After a small plummet in stock prices for Winmark Corp. (parent of Play It Again Sports) when the company released its quarterly earnings a week ago (company execs called them "flat"), stocks have rebounded. On July 21, stocks closed up 4.51 percent at 14.80. In the report last week, Winmark Corporation (Nasdaq: WINA) announced net income for the quarter ended June 28 of $756,400, or $.12 per share diluted, compared to net income of $724,000, or $.12 per share diluted, in 2002. For the six months ended June 28, 2003, net income was $1,878,600, or $.30 per share diluted, compared to net income of $1,799,900, or $.30 per share diluted, for the same period last year. There are 464 Play It Again Sports stores.
>> Every year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) levies hundreds of fines against U.S. businesses for a variety of compliance violations. Over 70 percent of fines are prompted by a business' failure to have written OSHA safety plans on site. As a result, the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has added OSHA Fast Fix, a provider of written OSHA compliance plans, to the IHRSA Advantage Program. To assist health club owners in developing protocols for workplace safety, OSHA Fast Fix has determined which OSHA standards apply to the health club industry and as part of the IHRSA Advantage Program, will provide health club operators mandated safety compliance plans and posters at a discount. Additional information about the OSHA Fast Fix partnership and IHRSA Advantage Program can be attained on the web at www.ihrsa.org/programs.
>> The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has launched a new website to promote its President's Challenge awards. The new web site (www.presidentschallenge.org) is a motivational tool to help Americans become active and fit, according to the council, partly because more and more Americans are going to the Internet to find health information. The free site helps consumers determine, chart and request awards for their activity. "By allowing people to chart success and receive awards, we are taking steps to build a healthier U.S.," HHS Secretary Tommy G.Thompson said.
>> Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) has reported net income of $309 million, or $1.04 per share, for the second quarter ended June 28, compared with net income of $229 million, or $0.71 per share, in the second quarter of 2002. In Retail and Related Services, the company anticipates that full-year operating income will be roughly flat with the previous year. This assumes comparable store sales of flat to up low-single digit in the second half. www.sears.com
>> The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has begun corporate partnerships designed to increase the skills of personal trainers and raise the level of professionalism in the fitness industry. The "Fitness Education Partnership" provides pricing incentives for health clubs on all NASM certification and continuing-education programs. Each partner's offerings are customized based on the health club's staff, goals and areas of emphasis. "Our NASM-certified trainers earn 43 percent more than our other trainers," said April Morgan, vice president of The Sports Club Company. In addition, NASM offers a "Corporate Power Pack," a marketing tool that provides a step-by-step guide to successfully launch the program within the club and in the community. More than 20 leading health-club corporations in the U.S. and Great Britain have already joined as Fitness Education Partners. These companies include The Sports Club Company, 24 Hour Fitness, Town Sports International, Lifetime Fitness, MultiplexClubs and Great Britain's David Lloyd Leisure.
>> We know SNEWS gets passed around and read by those who are non-subscribers. (Although we do find that most get addicted to our weekly news and like what they read so much that they want to support us and want their own copy). But the breadth of the SNEWS reach shocked even us last week when we got a call from Nautilus saying that Costco had seen our story about its equipment being sold there. Costco? How much farther outside the industry can you get? We knew SNEWS gets around, but really….
>> Life Time Fitness is gearing up for its international triathlon on Aug. 2, with the largest prize purse in the history of triathlon ($500,000). Cash will be awarded to the overall top 12 professional women and top 12 professional men. But it's not just about who has the fastest time: The event uses an "Equalizer" timing concept, which allows professional women and men to compete on equal ground by giving women time head starts based on predetermined standard differences. If competitors reach their potential, the finish can be a huge dash by many levels. The triathlon will also be broadcast same-day nationally on NBC Sports from 1 to 2:30 p.m. (CST).
>> Jim McGeehan has joined Sportcraft, a marketer of indoor and outdoor games and a relative newcomer in the treadmill business, as regional sales manager of the Western United States. McGeehan previously was director of international sales for And 1. Also, Jeff Stack has joined the company as marketing manager for new business development. Stack was formerly with Toys R Us for 19 years.
>> PowerBar Inc. has announced an open call for applications for the 2004 PowerBar Team Elite program. PowerBar invites athletes and sports influencers from all disciplines to apply for membership into the grassroots sponsorship program, with 2004 marking the 17th year. The program tries to recognize athletes, coaches and teams who demonstrate and communicate a passion and commitment to sport. Applications will be available at www.powerbar.com/pbsports/teamelite in early August 2003, and will be accepted by PowerBar through the beginning of October 2003. The Team Elite roster includes athletes and instructors from more than 20 sports, including yoga instruction, personal fitness training and wilderness guiding as well as cycling, mountain biking, skiing, adventure racing, paddling, climbing, golfing, football and baseball.
>> Thane International Inc. (BULLETIN BOARD: THAN) has announced financial results and the filing of its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2003. Total revenues for the year were $159.2 million, representing a 31.2 percent decrease over total revenues of $231.4 million in 2002. Net loss in 2003 was $37.0 million, compared to net income of $9.9 million and $0.30 basic earnings per share for the year ended March 31, 2002. As of December 31, 2002, Krane Holdings Inc. was in default of its credit facility with LaSalle Bank National Association due to violations of certain debt covenants. In addition, this credit facility matured in February 2003. The company was unable to negotiate a waiver for these violations or a short- term extension of this facility. As a result, on June 18, 2003, LaSalle exercised its secured rights under this facility, and accordingly, took possession of 100 percent of the capital stock of Krane. For details go to www.thaneinc.com.
>> The Super Show's new World of Sports Innovation was featured on the June cover of the magazine Trade Show Executive (www.tradeshowexecutive.com) and given its "Spotlight on Innovation" Award. In other show news: Marty Hanaka, current chairman of The Sports Authority, will serve as ambassador for the first Specialty Sport Retailing & Technology Summit at The Super Show/2004 in Orlando, Fl. The three-day summit will be broken down into nine specialty tracks: Sports Apparel & Footwear, Fitness, Golf & Tennis, Licensed Sports (including collectibles), Marine & Water Sports, Nutrition & Health, Action & Board Sports, Cycling & Outdoor Sports. Each track will have its own individual manufacturer, retailer and consumer panels, and each day will feature a top business innovator as the keynote speaker during lunch. Hanaka will not only serve as ambassador, but will also be one of the keynote speakers who will talk about "Innovation of Retailing.