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Navy Seal invents cure for childhood obesity

With 30 percent of U.S. schoolchildren overweight, childhood obesity is reaching epidemic proportions. And many parents are taking drastic measures - putting their kids on twigs-and-bark diets or shipping them off to fat camps. But former Navy SEAL Instructor Phil Black has a much simpler solution: Give your kids a deck of cards to help them lose weight.

Black is the inventor of "FitDeck," an innovative deck-of-cards workout that flew off the shelves when it was unveiled last year as a cheap alternative to expensive gym memberships. Now Black has invented "FitDeck Jr.," which is similar to the original FitDeck, but is designed specifically for kids.

"As a father of twins, I know how hard it can be to get children off the couch and onto the playground," says Black. "When I saw how families were using the original FitDeck for adults, I realized the idea could be turned into a game that would make kids actually want to exercise."

Black conceptualized the deck-of-cards workout as a Yale undergraduate and honed it as a Navy SEAL. "When you're deployed in the jungle or a desert, you can't bring your StairClimber or Bowflex with you. We relied on body-weight exercises, like push-ups and squats - and got just as good a workout."

Black has now modified his Navy SEAL workout into an ever-changing 50-card exercise regimen for kids ages five to 16. Unlike the original FitDeck, the junior version has a bigger emphasis on having fun. An accompanying booklet lists over 70 different games to play using the cards - including "Musical Chairs," "Scavenger Hunt," and "Hot Potato."

"FitDeck Jr. is a great resource for parents, teachers, coaches, daycare providers, or anyone who works with children," says Black.

With fun names like "Venus Fly Trap" and "Duck Walk," each FitDeck Jr. card depicts a boy or a girl performing a different exercise. Cards are color-coded by muscle group and offer three different levels of repetitions for beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

FitDeck Jr. retails for $14.95 at www.fitdeck.com. "Many parents want to help their kids develop healthy habits early, but they don't know where to start," says Black. "Now they have a fun way to help their kids get fit that doesn't require them to invest in an adult-sized home gym."

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