Exercise Linked to Performance in School Says New Study

exerciseGetting your kids out the door for some fresh air and exercise just might help improve their test scores. This is the latest idea discussed in a new study published in the Journal of Paediatrics. Researchers looked at the links between physical fitness and academic performance.

As Irene Esteban-Cornejo, of the Autonomous University of Madrid, said: “Because these physical fitness components are highly associated with each other, it is important to differentiate which physical fitness components are important in relation to academic performance.” The study included more than 2000 Spanish children and teenagers from 6-18 and looked at their physical fitness, their body composition and their academic achievement.

They found that both cardio-respiratory capacity and motor ability were related to academic achievement. The link was strongest for speed, agility and coordination.

As Dr Esteban-Cornejo said: “Having high levels of cardio-respiratory and motor fitness may, to some extent, reduce the risk of school failure.”

Of course, more studies may be necessary since this could certainly be a chicken-egg situation. Children who exercise more and are more motivated physically may also be more alert in class and more interested in reaching their potential. More studies will help to elaborate on the cause-effect relationship.

Travel in Style…to a Treehouse

treehouseIf you’ve always wanted to get away from it all up in a tree, now is your chance. Nick and Tara Culverhouse were trying to figure out how to preserve a tree that is on the grounds of their 200 year old hotel. And they have done so by turning it into its own little hotel.

The house has a master bedroom on the top floor, a room for two kids with bunk beds and a sitting room on the main floor and a full kitchen and bathroom.

Staying in this tree house won’t be a cheap holiday, as the unique location on the grounds of the Fox and Hounds Country Hotel in Eggesford, Devon starts at £245 a night.

Calculate Your Life Expectancy

Have you ever wondered how long you’re going to live? And how much your lifestyle habits are influencing your life expectancy?

These are the questions that are addressed in the life expectancy calculator below. Called Project Big Life, it was created by a team that was investigating the deaths of 70,000 people while looking at how health behaviors affect the risk of death. Canadian medical experts, along with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and others have created the calculator.


What would you like us to calculate for you?
Age:     (between 20 and 79 years)
Height: cm   or
Weight: kg   or   pounds


Smoking Status
What is your smoking status?


Alcohol Consumption
How often do you consume alcoholic beverages?


Fruit & Vegetable Diet
How many times did you have each of the following in the past week?
Fruit juice: (0 to 70)
Fruit: (0 to 70)
Salad: (0 to 70)
Potatoes: (0 to 70)
Carrots: (0 to 70)
Other vegetables: (0 to 70)


Leisure Physical Activity
How much time did you spend jogging or running in the past week?
(0 to 35) hours


How much time did you spend playing ice hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball, or rollerblading in the past week?
(0 to 35) hours


How much time in the past week did you spend doing other leisure activities? (i.e. walking, cycling, gardening, exercising, golfing, bowling, skating, fishing, baseball, tennis etc.)
(0 to 35) hours


Self-Perceived Stress
Thinking about the amount of stress in your life, would you say that most days are:



Postal Code (Optional):   (e.g. K1Y 4E9) Postal code is used to adjust for geographic variations
Did you immigrate to Canada?


What is your Household Income?


Which of the following Conditions do you have?


Does illness limit your ability to participate in activities?
Provide this information if you would like to see the probability of living until a future event of your choice.
For example, will I live to see
    – the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup?
– my grandchild get married?
– my grandchild’s graduation?
– my retirement?
– my 100th birthday?
Event name:   (e.g. Your child’s or grandchild’s wedding)
Event year:     (YYYY – e.g. 2019)



Terracotta Army…Made from Pizza Dough

picture from WENN.com
picture from WENN.com

If you can’t get to China to see the famous Terracotta Army – then maybe you can see them at the PizzaExpress chain in Beijing. Opening soon, the chain decided to have British food artist Annabel de Vetten recreate the entire Terracotta Army – out of pizza dough.

That’s right. The artist who specializes in cakes for her company Conjurer’s Kitchen, used PizzaExpress’s signature dough to create each warrior. The warriors have been recreated in such detail that each one has a different hair style and realistic folds in his clothes.

The Beijing PizzaExpress will join many other eateries at the Taikoo Li shopping center in Sanlitun, but chances are none of them will have quite such an elaborate display as part of their restaurant.

Leadership Training Programs: University of the Virgin Islands & Others

There are many summer institutes and programs around the world that allow students enrichment opportunities. Certainly, these programs help to build leaders around the world, and they rely on the contributions of generous people and companies to continuing with their roles.

One such program is the University of the Virgin Island’s summer institute which brings together student leaders from the Caribbean and the United States. It is a two week intensive program that focuses on leadership developing for tomorrow, culture and communication and the global business environment. Many institute participants take the leadership skills that they learn here back to their countries and communities and implement the skills and expertise that they have learned through the institute. Uriel Cohen, White Bay Group founder and Elli Ausubel have contributed to the Summer Institute for Future Global Leaders and the the Junior University at the University of the Virgin lslands (UVl). Similarly, the White Bay Group USVI has made educational contributions to other schools in the Virgin Islands including the Charlotte Amalie High School and the Guy Benjamin Elementary School.

In another unique program, Brandeis University has a four week leadership training program specifically for entering 12th grade students from Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia. The program is intended to strengthen the skills of effective leaders and to develop a blueprint for applying leadership skills to the school or community where the students live. It also allows students to experience life on a college campus and to explore an area in the United States, as the tour around Waltham and Boston, Massachusetts. The program is endowed by funds from the Baltic-American Enterprise Fund. This is a US government-created investment fund.

Prudent Advice About Prunes

prunesWe all know that prunes are good for constipation, but little did we know that they are great for dieting too. Liverpool University researchers tracked the weight and appetite of 100 overweight and obese men and women who were being given dieting advice.

Half were given prunes to snack on. The men who were given prunes were asked to eat 170g a day, about 15 prunes. The women were asked to eat 140g, or about a dozen, a day.

At the end of the three month study, both sets of groups lost about four pounds of weight and an inch off of their waistlines. However, the ones who ate the prunes felt fuller and had faster weight loss.

As Jason Halford explained, the appetite-suppressing effect of the prunes outweighed the damage done by the sugar content of the food.

As Professor Halford (who, by the way, received funding from the California Prune Board) said, “One of the biggest problems with dieting is that it makes you hungry. This doesn’t necessarily mean that prunes are the new weight loss miracle but they don’t undermine dieting.”

In addition, he mentioned that eating the prunes could also help you to achieve your goal of having five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.