"Let's make our goal the raising of a generation of healthy young people who, through thoughtful participation in their world and sensible eating habits, will seek their best level of performance, develop it, and so build self-confidence through success." Dr. Rob's Fitness Guide for Kids with Sensible Parents emphasizes that fitness in children is a family issue, and that parents and children need to work together if the children are to achieve optimal health and live a longer, more rewarding life. Because it is impossible to discuss fitness in children without addressing the increasingly important problem of childhood obesity, issues of maintaining or achieving optimal weight are integral every step along the way. It's not just about food; it's about how kids and their families spend their time. Dr. Rob Gotlin sees sports and exercise as the route to physical, psychological, and social health. He coaches several children's teams, because he believes that participation in sports teaches kids basic coordination skills, the rules and how to play by them, thoughtfulness, concern for others, useful experiences in winning and losing, and the satisfaction of giving one's best for a joint goal, and offers a terific vehicle for attaining physical fitness and good health. These values are reflected throughout the book. Special features of this book that make it a must-read for all parents include: - Fitness guidelines for kids of every age. Developing an exercise program is considered in the context of a child's age, and what can be expected at each age in terms of physical prowess and emotional response. At age 6, for example, the attention span is less than a minute, so games and sports should be about movement, not about "how to," emphasizing the development of fundamental motor skills. For the ten-to-twelve-year old, it's time to look for programs and classes that focus on developmental levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) rather than chronological age. - Choosing the right sport for your child. The decline in physical education programs in elementary, middle, and high schools means that parents must supervise at least some sports participation for their children. The goal of every parent must be to help each child choose a sport or physical activity in which he or she will find both comfort and confidence. - Choosing the right equipment for every sport and at every age. For each sport, detailed information is provided about the equipment needed, what features to look for when purchasing equipment, and variables by the child's age - such as the proper length and weight of a baseball bat. - Healthy meal plans and sports menus that don't look like a diet. With dietician Toni Colarusso, the author created a regimen that will give kids what they need to start a lifetime of good eating habits. Each day's menu allows for substitutions with other foods that may be used depending on the child's preference-and what parents find in their fridge and on their shelves. Recipes and menu plans will be posted as downloadable files on the book's website, www.fitnessforkids.diamedicapub.com. - Menu planning linked to sports. A week's worth of menu planning is linked to each sport. These food plans can be mixed and mingled, while keeping the calorie count steady. Instead of asking kids to eat healthy food, they emphasize power foods, and relate power foods to sports, emphasizing to the child that the better she eats, the better her performance will be. What kid wouldn't be proud to be on the baseball diet? Or admit she's on the soccer diet? - Provides information on caloric needs for children of all ages and weights. Readers will learn how to calculate their children's body mass index and calorie needs, and menus include calorie counts and suggested modifications for weight gain or loss. - Eating for optimal sports performance. Nutritional needs for practice, training, and pre-and post-game eating that will maximize performance include specific menu suggestions. For example, carbohydrate intake should be emphasized on the day of a game, while post-game nutrition should emphasize replenishing fluids and essential minerals. - Staying in shape: Exercises for Kids. When developing an exercise program for children, it is important to remember that they are neither adults in a child's body nor a child in an adult's body. The objective of a fitness program for kids is to improve flexibility, increase strength, increase endurance, and enhance overall wellness, not to create the next sports champion... - Advice for Coaches: The Parent Partnership. There are more than two million volunteer youth coaches in the United States, most of them involved because their kids want to play and coaching is a great way to bond with our children. This chapter provides guidelines for coaches and parents, to provide the most supportive environment possible for children who participate in sports. - Keeping kids safe while they have fun. A guide to common injuries and how to manage them provides general t guidelines for the most common sports-related injuries. It also discusses safety issues related to common conditions such as seasonal allergies and asthma that can affect kids who play sports. A section called Reading The Coach's E-mail answers common questions from parents and other coaches. - Alcohol, Drugs, and More. Especially as they enter the teen years, children become increasingly susceptible to risk-taking behaviors that put their health and wellness at risk. This chapter provides general guidelines for both spotting such problems in their early stages and dealing with them. - Ask Dr. Rob: Common Questions About Fitness in Kids. Dr. Gotlin hosts a sports and fitness show on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York. This chapter contains some of questions he is most often asked by parents, adults, and other coaches, and offers workable answers as a guide through the physical and psychological turmoil of childhood and adolescence. - Child-Friendly Recipes Good Enough for the Whole Family. Recipes are linked to the menu plans discussed earlier in the book, and will be posted as downloadable files on the book's website, www.fitnessforkids.diamedicapub.com.