Nov 22

Childhood Obesity Pervasive

Childhood Obesity Worse in Southwestern U.S. But…

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Having said that, be carefully how much you indulge. Especially if you live in Mississippi. According to nearly every study on childhood obesity, the state of Mississippi has been the hardest hit. Whereas the folks who live in Utah, Colorado and Oregon have the most to be thankful for since each of those states ranks as having the lowest childhood obesity rate, depending on which studies you study.

Fitness and Childhood Obesity Not the Same, But…

Interestingly, the fitness index doesn’t look exactly the same as the childhood obesity index. According to recent findings, Connecticut has the fittest children while Alaska has the least fit. It would appear that childhood obesity and children’s fitness are closely related, but not exactly the same. Mississippi is a good example of this. It is ranked as the worst state when it comes to childhood obesity and 47th (4th to the worst) when it comes to fitness.

Childhood Obesity Studies Focus on Data But…

Childhood obesity figures are determined based on fairly specific bits of factual information such as weight, body fat indexes and height. Most fitness studies, however, focus more on the causes of obesity and poor fitness rather than the results. So a fitness study is more likely to focus on factors such as “availability of safe playgrounds, rates of participation in youth sports, and the number of fast-food restaurants.”

It is important to look at both fitness and obesity figures. In essence, it is highly unlikely that an obese child would be fit, but there is a likelihood that a child who is unfit may not be obese. However, even if a child is not obese, we cannot ignore their fitness needs. Today’s unfit child could very likely become tomorrow’s obese child or adult.

Fitness should be the goal for all children. Fitness is the key to both treatment and prevention when it comes to childhood obesity. If children find the joys of outdoor play in general and trail fitness particularly, they are well on their way to a more active and healthy lifestyle. Let’s fight childhood obesity through fitness, fun and trails.


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Nov 20

Leading Causes of Obesity

Lack of Exercise Main Cause of Childhood Obesity

As promised in our last blog post, Trailsnet will be focusing on the issue of childhood obesity. In particular, today’s post will examine the causes of childhood obesity. The overall conclusions may not be surprising, but some of the details will surely interest our readers. The main reasons for childhood obesity are well known but worthwhile for further review:

  1. Insufficient Exercise – It is well documented that children do not get as much exercise as they used to or as they need. The reasons for this pattern include over dependence on motorized transportation, safety issues, and home factors such as television and video games. The Trailsnet Trails to Fitness program will help to change this leading cause of childhood obesity by promoting more trail use by children and more trail sharing between children.
  2. Poor Diet – According to, a leading contributor to a higher caloric intake among children is excessive snacking. Often times children snack because they are bored or because of frequent exposure to unhealthy food and unhealthy food advertising. By getting children out on the trails and away from the television, they will be less likely to snack or be convinced that unhealthy food should be a part of their daily life.
  3. Genetic Factors – Genetic factors are rarely the cause of childhood obesity. In rare instances, some genetic disorders may lead to excessive weight gain, these are the exception rather than the rule. It is much more common for childhood obesity to stem from a lack of exercise and/or poor nutritional patterns.
  4. Environmental Factors – It is possible that a portion of the blame for childhood obesity could occur outside the influence of a child’s home. Lack of exercise and poor diet may also be reinforced in daycares, schools, community gathering areas and even the homes of friends & relatives. Once again, though, it is possible to channel our children towards more healthy gathering areas such as trails and other active pursuits.

The causes for childhood obesity are relatively limited and fairly specific. By focusing on promoting healthy activities while limiting unhealthy behaviors, we can end childhood obesity as we know it. Stay tuned as Trailsnet shares information about:

family enjoying a bike ride

Biking is for families… & everyone else.

  • Where is childhood obesity most prevelant?
  • Why is childhood obesity such a big problem?
  • What is being done to battle childhood obesity?
  • How can Trailsnet help to end childhood obesity?
  • What specific role will Trailsnet play in the war against childhood obesity?
  • Who will be recruited in Trailsnet’s Trails to Fitness program?

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Nov 18

Trails to End Childhood Obesity

Trails to Fitness: Ending Childhood Obesity, One Trail at a Time

As promised, Trailsnet has positioned itself on the front lines of the battle against childhood obesity. In upcoming posts, you will discover:

  • What are the leading causes of childhood obesity?

    trail runners with dog

    fun on the trails

  • Where is childhood obesity most prevelant?
  • Why is childhood obesity such a big problem?
  • What is being done to battle childhood obesity?
  • How can Trailsnet help to end childhood obesity?
  • What specific role will Trailsnet play in the war against childhood obesity?
  • Who will be recruited in Trailsnet’s Trails to Fitness program?


Of course that is just the beginning. Trailsnet will continue adding Trails to Fitness topics and even asking for some of our trail contributors to add some blog posts about how Trailsnet and Trails to Fitness is helping end the terrible scourge of childhood obesity.

In addition to trail information, Trailsnet will also include information about healthy trail snacks, how to get the whole family out on trails, how communities can encourage trail fitness and more. So stay tuned and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

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Nov 15

Top Ten Biking Trails in England

Diverse English Trails winding trail

The diverse terrain that exists in England makes it a great country for cyclists who are looking for new challenges as well as those who simply want to arrange a pleasant afternoon in the countryside at the weekend.

Whether you are keen to test your endurance by tackling steep climbs and demanding off-road tracks or you would like to spend a couple of hours exploring a beautiful part of the country at a leisurely pace, the following list should contain a couple of suggestions that will appeal to you.


  1. Mary Towneley Loop, near Calderdale in Yorkshire. This route is not for the faint of heart. Comprising roughly forty-seven miles of the Pennine Bridleway National Trail, you can start at any point that is convenient for you and follow it until you have completed the loop. Because the track dips in and out of the valleys, you will be faced with cruel climbs and exciting descents. Anybody who can complete the uphill sections without a dab is truly an accomplished cyclist.
  2. Mawddach Trail, near Barmouth, Wales. If you would like to see some spectacular scenery but have no desire to wear yourself out in the process, this route is ideal. Since it follows an old railway line, it is completely level. Plus, being an undeveloped area, it really is a beautiful place to spend an hour or two. The trail is only 10 miles long so it is a great choice for families with younger children who would find longer rides a bit too much.
  3. Ennerdale Water, Cumbria. Although this track is located in the Lake District, one of the hillier areas of the country, it is actually quite a gentle ride and will present no problems for those of average fitness. The mild climbs and descents that will be encountered on this 19-mile route are nothing to be concerned about and it goes without saying that the views are more than worth the effort that you will expend.
  4. The Quantock Hills, Somerset. 15 miles of steep descents and challenging climbs from Rams Combe, looping around Quantock Moor and Woodlands Hill, before coming back to the starting point, will take the average rider two to three hours to complete and you may spot native red deer and wild ponies along the way.
  5. The Cuckoo Trail, East Sussex. A surfaced path that passes through fourteen miles of local countryside, the gentle gradients along the way are suitable for riders of all levels. Running from Heathfield to Eastbourne Park, woodpeckers, bullfinch, and lesser whitethroat may be spotted in the area, along with the species after which the trail was named. There are many excellent spots for a family picnic along the way and plenty of places where you can buy refreshments that are located near to various sections of the trail.
  6. Hardknott Pass, Eskdale, Cumbria. Another route in the Lake District, this one is markedly different from the one at Ennerdale Water. Two sets of brutally hard switchbacks make this a challenge fit for biking heroes and there is no shame in failing to stay the course as it is possibly the hardest trail in the country. 30% gradients will really get your heart pumping and the muscles in your legs screaming in protest as you battle your way to the peak before hurtling down the other side at a terrific rate of knots.
  7. Rutland Water, Leicestershire. After the strain you may have felt by simply reading about the Hardknott Pass, you can relax now as we contemplate the Rutland Water Cycleway, whose 25-mile route is mainly flat and off road. Following the perimeter of the 3,100 acre manmade lake, wherever you start you will, not unsurprisingly, finish in the same place. Pleasant views and a nice day out for families, couples, and single cyclists that fancy taking it easy.
  8. Tudor Trail, Kent. It starts at Tonbridge Castle and follows the River Medway for a stretch before heading out into the countryside on a mainly off-road track to Penhurst Place then continues along quiet lanes and bridleways to Hever Castle. This is a great choice for those who enjoy scenic routes that are not too demanding. At just over ten miles, it can be completed in under 2 hours at a very relaxed pace.
  9. The Manifold Trail, West Midlands. Another scenic choice, this disused railway path runs for about eight or nine miles and has no steep gradients to worry about. From Waterhouses to Hulme End in Staffordshire, you will pass through spectacular limestone gorges on this route and you will find a pub and visitor centre where you can rest at the end.
  10. Kennet & Avon Cycle Route. Following the canal towpath for most of the way, with detours along some picturesque country lanes in the Vale of Pewsey between Devizes and Marsh Benham, this is not a demanding ride as far as elevation is concerned. However, at 85 miles it is the longest on the list and will take most people around ten and a half hours to complete.


About the Author: Andrew Baldwin is the marketing manager at ProBikeKit. Established in the early 1990s, ProBikeKit is a leading online provider of cycle tyres, clothing, frames, and other items to customers across the United Kingdom.

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Nov 11

Trailsnet Joins the Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Active Children Are Healthy Children

inline skaters on trail

nature’s gym

Every community has numerous outdoor gyms; they are called trails. If kids can find these trails and get to the trails, they will walk on them, play on them, run on them, ride bikes on them, inline skate on them and even play hide-and-seek on them. Trails are free, they’re fun, they’re safe, and they’re ubiquitous.

Trails Are Hidden Treasures

Go into any community and interview the locals, young and old alike. Ask them how to get the Cheshire Rail Trail, the Tammany Trace, the Santa Ana River Trail.  Don’t be surprised to be met with a blank stare and shrugged shoulders. Trails, one of our nation’s greatest resources and a frontline soldier in the battle to fight obesity, are like lost treasures. They’re extremely valuable, yet relatively unknown by most community members

Let the Children Lead the Way to Our Trails

So from this day forward, Trailsnet is going to be the premier website for helping children find trails so that we can begin to eliminate the epidemic of childhood obesity. Trailsnet wants to end childhood obesity one trail at a time. Stay tuned for further details about Trailsnet’s efforts to fight childhood obesity and eventually all obesity. But in the meantime, here’s some important information to share:

The Role of Physical Activity in the Fight to End Childhood Obesity

*Approximately 50 percent of children walked or bicycled to school in 1969; today, fewer than 15 percent of schoolchildren walk or bike to school, according to the Safe Routes to School Partnership.
*Only 3.8 percent of U.S. elementary schools, 7.9 percent of U.S. middle schools and 2.1 percent of U.S. high schools provide daily physical education for students, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
*52 percent of adults do not meet minimum physical activity recommendations.

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Nov 04

Cave Loop Trail part of Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico

Tent Rock Trails

Cave Loop Trail and Canyon Trail combine to form Tent Rocks Trail

hikers on Cave Loop Trail

The Tent Rock Trails, located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico are actually two different trails combined to form one fantastic hiking trail. The Cave Loop Trail is 1.2 miles long and is a fairly easy trail for hikers of all abilities. The Canyon Trail is 1.5 miles and is a bit more difficult. Together, the two trails form the 2.7 mile Tent Rocks Trails.

The Cave Loop Trail allows hikers to stroll along a fairly level loop path to view a sandstone cave and some amazing pyramidal rock formations. For interesting historical and geological information, visit the Tent Rocks National Monument website on the right hand side of this page.

The Canyon Trail allows hikers to explore narrow canyons and view beautiful layered rocks as they climb up to the top of a scenic ridge. Trail users get both a macro and a micro view of the stunning canyons. As they hike up the trail, they will view the sheer rock walls on either side and pass through crevices barely wide enough for one person to pass. Once atop the ridge, the same hikers will look back over the maze of canyons and the surrounding rock outcrops.

These two trails offer a great family hiking experience with terrain and scenery guaranteed to please even the most discerning outdoor enthusiast.

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