Father Helps Daughter’s Health

by Kyle Washburn
Health & Fitness Editor
Friday May 18, 2012

Contributed by Lynn Coppotelli and Doug Werner

During the last 30 years, childhood obesity has risen by 30 percent. Today 30 percent of children are classified as clinically obese and in the African American and Hispanic communities, almost 40 percent of children are overweight or obese. If this problem isn't addressed, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives or will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. (Source:

The Center for Disease Control reports about 17% of American under the age of 20 - or about 12.5 million people - are obese and at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Generally caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight, the disease in difficult to manage in children. Experts unanimously report the best solution for the increase in juvenile diabetes is prevention.

Fitness expert Doug Werner, in his new book "Abbie Gets Fit," shares his personal journey with his daughter as he helped her get fit. A veteran of two marathons and a lifetime of sports and physical activity, Werner helped his daughter get healthy.

"I have been in the fitness business for 35 years," says Doug Werner, "but when it came to my own young daughter, Abbie, her de-conditioning kind of sneaked up on us." When Abbie proudly showed Werner the results from her school's fitness test, he gently told her she did not pass the test.

Werner was dismayed that his daughter failed the test. Not because she wasn't a 'star' athlete, but because he was worried about her health as a child and what it could mean for her adult life if she wasn't physically fit. When Abbie asked her dad what she could do to pass the next assessment, he said they could take a walk!

And walk they did - every day for an hour come rain, shine, sleet or snow! Studies have shown walking is the safest, most effective, and least expensive way to get fit. "Abbie Gets Fit" takes us on Werner's true life story as he and Abbie walk their way to fitness over a six month period and, in the process, forge an unforgettable daddy-daughter bond.

Motivational for adults and kids alike, "Abbie Gets Fit" explains why:

"...Abbie Gets Fit provides an excellent model for parents to safely and successfully enhance their children’s fitness...Doug Werner and his daughter Abbie make this effective exercise program one that every parent should consider." -Dr. W

  • The parent/guardian needs to be a role model for a healthy lifestyle...especially for the inactive child

  • No gym membership required - getting fit can be as simple as walking for an hour a day

  • Fitness 'testing' and goal setting is important because kids relate best to tangible results

  • Regular exercise can help a child focus better during class, reduce stress and anxiety, have improved self-esteem and confidence, and increased energy

  • A joint fitness program can help build a stronger parent/child relationship

    "I hope other families are inspired by our story," explains Werner. "I didn't invent anything. Walking is as natural as breathing, but I did what any parent can do, I made a commitment to my child and we both came out winners!"

    "Abbie Gets Fit" takes readers on a touching journey as Abbie and her dad get fit together. What began as an hourly walk every day, turned into a life lesson for both of them about the value of being fit, respect for their bodies inside and out, the importance of a good diet, and an unforgettable bond between daughter and dad.

    Doug Werner is a 35-year veteran of the fitness industry and has worked in senior management roles for several fitness leaders including Nautilus, Life Fitness, Star Trac, Club Corporation of America and the New York Sports Clubs. He is currently a vice president for Healthtrax Fitness and Wellness. Abbie is now 13, and she and Werner still walk together, hand in hand, several times a week.

    "Abbie Gets Fit" is available through,, Ingram, and Baker & Taylor.

  • Kyle Washburn is the National Health and Fitness Editor at Edge Publications, Inc. He earned a BS in Physiology, M.Ed in Sport Psychology and Counseling and an MBA. He is a certified personal trainer through NASM and ACE and has been training for over ten years. He is an avid triathlete, softball and tennis player, runner, hiker and enjoys the outdoors.


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