Sports Medicine Bulletin
Mar. 11, 2014

Active Voice: Obesity in America — Don't Believe Everything You Read
By Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., FACSM
Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM. Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., FACSM, is professor and director of the Children's Physical Activity Research Group and a faculty member in the Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. During his long career at USC, he has held several administrative positions including department chair and vice provost for health sciences. Russ is a past president of ACSM. In 2013, he received ACSM’s Honor Award for his exceptional scientific achievements relating to physical activity interventions for children and adolescents. Dr. Pate has published more than 270 scholarly articles and his research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association and others. Currently, he chairs the Coordinating Committee of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade, you are almost certainly aware that the United States is in the midst of an "obesity epidemic." You are probably concerned about this issue, probably believe it is an important public health challenge, and probably believe that our society needs to make some profound changes in order to solve this problem. But have you stopped to ask yourself why you believe whatever you believe about obesity in America? Have you thought about where you accessed the information that prompted you to adopt your beliefs?

A recently released government report and the accompanying news coverage provide an interesting case study in how information about obesity is communicated to the public by the mass media. In the February 26, 2014 issue of JAMA, Cynthia Ogden and colleagues with the National Center for Health Statistics, reported on the latest national survey of obesity rates in the U.S. Following is the statement that was published as the Conclusion and Relevance section of the abstract: "Overall, there have been no significant changes in obesity prevalence in youth or adults between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012. Obesity prevalence remains high and thus it is important to continue surveillance." Interestingly, the following headline was published by The New York Times in its front page coverage of the Ogden report on February 25, 2014: "Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43% in a Decade." Hmmmmm.


Nominations for 2015 ACSM Honor and Citation Awards Due April 15

The Awards and Tributes Committee is accepting nominations for the 2015 Honor and Citation awards. The deadline for nominations is April 15, 2014. For criteria and nomination process, click here.More

Policy Corner: Member-Advocates out in Force for Capitol Hill Day

The air outside the U.S. Capitol was cool, but ACSM member-advocates were warmly received in scores of visits with members of Congress and staff March 5. The occasion was ACSM's second annual Capitol Hill Day, held in conjunction with the Sports and Fitness Industry Association's National Health Through Fitness Day.

The ACSM contingent numbered almost 40, allowing each team meeting in a House or Senate office to include a member to urge co-sponsorship of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Act. The other asks were to co-sponsor the Carol M. White Physical Education Act (PEP) and the Personal Health Investment Today Bill (PHIT). Advocates garnered significant support for all three measures, which were presented as ways to lower obesity rates and health care costs while enhancing individual health and providing numerous co-benefits.

Celebrity athletes accompanied each team, ensuring perspectives from the playing field and rapt attention by elected officials and staff. During a vigorous demonstration of active games by a roomful of T-shirted youth, Baltimore Ravens cornerback LaDarius Webb jumped in and joined them with nimble verve.

Many ACSM participants were members of the Health and Science Policy Committee, which held an in-person meeting March 4 for an in-depth discussion of strategies and progress to advance the ACSM policy agenda.

Monte Ward, ACSM's vice president for government affairs, welcomes inquiries about the College's policy program. Contact him at

New Travel Award Available: Dr. Lisa Krivickas Clinician/Scholar Travel Award

The American College of Sports Medicine Foundation has announced a new award opportunity to fund travel expenses for one female applicant to present her scholarly work at the ACSM Annual Meeting. One $1,000 USD award will be given. ACSM's 61st Annual Meeting, 5th World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® and World Congress on the Role of Inflammation in Exercise, Health, and Disease, will take place in Orlando, Florida from May 27 – May 31, 2014. To view requirements and apply, click here. Deadline to apply is April 1.More

Are You A Gold-Medal Parent? An Interview with Olympic Champion Gary Hall, Jr.

ACSM Past President Mindy Millard-Stafford, Ph.D., FACSM, recently conducted an interview with Gary Hall, Jr., about "gold-medal" parenting for active kids. Hall is not only a three-time Olympian with 10 medals, but is also a board member of the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute. The Institute, comprising sports medicine and sports science professionals, is a partnership between ACSM and Sanford Health that is committed to youth health, wellness and fitness through sports and other physical activity.

The interview discusses numerous concerns with specialization in youth sports and methods to foster a child's continued participation in and enjoyment from a chosen sport or other healthy activity. Read the full interview with former Olympic swimmer and NYSHI board member Gary Hall, Jr. here. To learn more about the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute, visit

Springing Out of the Gym into the Sun? Take Time to Thaw Out
Fitness warriors eager to step out of the gym at the first sign of spring should exercise caution, fitness experts say, noting that hitting the open road is more taxing than running on a treadmill, and mountain trails are bumpier than a spinning class.

Even conditioned people may need a period of adjustment to transition safely into working out in the open air.

"The harsher the winter, the more we have to be careful not to come back too fast, too soon," said exercise physiologist and running coach Tom Holland, who lives in Connecticut. "Even people who are generally fit might do less over the winter."

When the weather changes, Holland said, many runners try to run too many miles too soon.

"The body generally takes about two weeks to acclimate," he explained, "so give yourself time to build back that base of strength."

He recommends that regardless of what was done outdoors last fall, a little less should be done in the spring.

"Running on a treadmill is generally easier than outdoor running, so if you've been running five miles on a treadmill don't increase (outdoor) mileage immediately," he said.

And cross-training should not be neglected.

"Just because the weather gets nice, doesn't mean we eschew the gym," he said. "Strength training is a big part of being injury-free."

Chris McGrath, senior fitness consultant for the American Council on Exercise said too many people doing their winter cardio on a treadmill assume they can transition seamlessly to running on the ground.

Pavement is harder than the belt of a treadmill and the mechanics of running are slightly different. More

Doctor Who Pioneered Tommy John Surgery Dies
The Associated Press via ABC News
Dr. Frank Jobe, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who was the first to perform an elbow procedure that became known as Tommy John surgery and saved the careers of countless major league pitchers, died Thursday. He was 88.

Jobe died in Santa Monica after being hospitalized recently with an undisclosed illness, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jobe performed groundbreaking elbow surgery on John, a Dodgers pitcher who had a ruptured medial collateral ligament in his left elbow. The injury previously had no solution until Jobe removed a tendon from John's forearm and repaired his elbow. John went on to pitch 14 years after the operation on Sept. 25, 1974, compiling 164 more victories without ever missing a start because of an elbow problem.

"Today I lost a GREAT friend," John tweeted. More