>> America's obesity crisis has been dubbed an epidemic, and now a psychological war. Despite all the attention given to the subject, much of the information about actual obesity numbers remains too vague to provide a solid image of the problem. According to a new report by American Sports Data Inc. (ASD), abstract statements like "three out of five Americans are overweight" or "childhood obesity has nearly tripled in the last two decades" have not done much to spark a change in people's lives. "People still aren't getting it," Harvey Lauer, president of American Sports Data, said in a statement. "We need more visceral symbols of the obesity epidemic -- measures of the flesh that are vivid, graphic and powerful enough to galvanize a dangerously overweight population. Within the bounds of sensitivity, we need to hear more about pounds, inches, body fat percentages, sweating, panting, asthma, diabetes, heart attacks and premature death." To provide some of that visceral information, ASD conducted in January a nationwide study sponsored by IHRSA. The study involved 12,094 adults and projected that 3.8 million Americans weigh more than 300 pounds. "Unless you're a well-proportioned 7-foot basketball player or a huge wrestler, that much body mass is hard to justify," Lauer said. Adult men averaged 196 pounds and women's self-reported weight averaged at 163. Seventy percent of people in the 300-plus pound category were men. Men were also in the majority of the 400,000 Americans who weigh in at more than 400 pounds. The study found that one out of six women tips the scales at more than 200 pounds. For more information, check out ASD's website at www.americansportsdata.com.
>> New Balance Athletic Shoe announced that it will sponsor the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefit for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust. "The Breast Cancer 3-Day Series enables the Komen Foundation to extend its reach and fundraising efforts to help individuals and their families who face breast cancer today while investing in a future free of breast cancer," Patrice Tosi, executive vice-president and COO of the Komen Foundation, said. The 3-Day Series is a 60-mile walk held in 10 cities, including San Francisco, New York and Chicago, from July through October.
>> A product recall was issued by Jumpking Inc., in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov), for approximately 1.2 million dumbbells bearing Reebok and Nordic Track trademarks. The chrome dumbbells weigh between 2 and 50 pounds. Jumpking has discovered that the weights do not fit together properly and they can fall off the handles and strike the user. The company has received nine reports of weights falling off, and five of those consumers reported injuries, including bruising and a broken nose. Consumers are advised to examine their dumbbells and make sure the weights on both ends are secured tightly to the handle. If they are loose, contact Jumpking for a free repair kit. Consumers have been instructed to call Jumpking at 800-322-2211 or visit www.jumpking.com. To see the press release and image, click here.
>> There's a new crusader on the streets ready to help out bewildered consumers and retailers -- "Professor Bra." Part of Moving Comfort's national bra education initiative, Audrey Kirkland, a bra design veteran who leads workshops to educate women on how to find a properly fitting bra, will field questions, offer advice and just let the ladies vent their frustrations with their "boulder holders." The email forum expands Moving Comfort's bra education program, which includes bra clinics nationwide for retailers and consumers to help women learn their proper bra size and the various styles and features that can accommodate their individual needs. "Most women don't know their real bra size. They think that they are still the size today that they were in high school," said Kirkland, who was dubbed Professor Bra when she joined Moving Comfort in 2003 and began providing bra clinics at stores and events across the country. "A proper fit is the first step in building a bra wardrobe that provides the right level of support, comfort and style for a woman's changing needs." Kirkland encourages women to get re-measured at least once a year or during periods of weight gain and loss to ensure a proper fit and the best support. "Many major department stores and specialty athletic stores offer custom bra fittings," she said. "It only takes a few minutes to be measured but it makes a world of difference in your fit and comfort." Websites like www.movingcomfort.com provide instructions so women can measure themselves. Questions and comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
>> A national sporting goods study has recently affirmed the adage that women love to buy shoes. (We're shocked!) And here's the proof. Women purchased the majority of the shoes sold in 2003 in eight athletic and sport footwear categories. To be more specific, females bought 93.3 percent of cheerleading shoes (well, duh!), 86.7 percent of aerobic shoes, 72 percent of bowling shoes, 67.1 percent of sport sandals, 61.9 percent of walking shoes, 61.3 percent of fashion sneakers, 55.5 percent of water sport shoes and 55.4 percent of fitness shoes. Women also purchased significant percentages of cross training, running, track, and trail-running shoes, among others. The study, "The Sporting Goods Market in 2004", was conducted by Irwin Broh & Associates for the National Sporting Goods Association and is based on 100,000 U.S. households. For more information, call 847-296-6742, email email@example.com, or visit www.nsga.org.
>> IHRSA will hold its 5th annual Brasil Latin American Conference & Trade Show September 9-11 at the ITM Expo in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This year's event is expected to draw 6,000 attendees, and more than 110 companies from around the world will have exhibits. Keynote speakers will include Walter Longo, CEO of Synapsys; Amalia Sina, president of Walita do Brasil; and Max Gehringer, writer for Exame magazine and Voce S.A. magazine.