Arnold's Fitness for Kids, Ages Birth -

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Author, Charles Gaines, With
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Author, Charles Gaines, With Doubleday Books $15 (101p) ISBN 978-0-385-42266-6
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993
Release date: 03/01/1993
Hardcover - 120 pages - 978-0-385-42268-0
Hardcover - 120 pages - 978-0-385-42267-3
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To judge from this carefully conceived and executed trilogy, Schwarzenegger took seriously his duties as head of the President's Council on Physical Fitness: these useful guides provide sound advice for getting kids to stay in shape and eat wisely. As Arnold states in the introduction to each volume (divided by age groups: birth-5, 6-10 and 11-14), children's fitness is fast becoming a crisis with long-term implications for the nation's health-care situation. With their emphasis on play as the keynote to youngsters' fitness, on parents not rushing kids into situations for which they are not developmentally ready, and on fun rather than winning as the goal of sports, the texts are a welcome antidote to the ``Little League parent'' syndrome. The first volume, more geared toward parents, is the best written of the trio. A kind of schizophrenia affects the second entry, which seems unable to decide whether its readers are 10 or 40. The final volume seems uncertain of its target audience's reading level, veering between straight talk and unintentional condescension. Each book features a series of Schwarzenegger's childhood reminiscences that offer rather strained fitness lessons. The books are on firmer ground when promoting the value of exercise and a good diet. Regrettably, they are unappealingly designed, illustrated with unprepossessing line drawings of children at play and unflattering black-and-white photos of Schwarzenegger leading exercises. All three books provide excellent bibliographies, exercise programs and references to organizations worth contacting; as a result, these are an invaluable resource for parents and, to a lesser extent, kids. (Apr.)
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