Fitwize 4 Kids® and Fictional Childhood Obesity Book Author Announce "Heart-Smart Art Contest" Call for Entries

Initiative encourages America's youth to 'think health' at onset of the New Year by artistically depicting good lifestyle choices; prize package rife with healthy living tools

NOVATO, Calif. and San Diego, Calif., January 3, 2006 - Fitwize 4 Kids (, America's fastest growing chain of fitness centers specifically designed to foster kids' health education, physical activity and nutrition awareness, and two-time bodybuilding champion and kids' health advocate Merilee A. Kern, MBA, Author of the ground-breaking children's book It's Not Your Fault That You're Overweight - A Story of Enlightenment, Empowerment and Accomplishment for Overweight and Obese Kids (, today announced a call for entries for their joint 2006 "Heart-Smart Art Contest" initiative intended to get elementary and middle-school age children off to a healthy start in 2006.

"This contest is a fantastic way to get America's kids thinking about healthy living at the onset of the new year," said Kern. "With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that over 20 percent of American children are either overweight or obese, a fun program such as this that increases awareness of good nutrition and fitness through creative expression is one very positive step in the right direction."

To enter the contest, kids ages 14 and under should submit an original work of art no larger than 8.5"x11" that depicts a child making "some" type of healthy lifestyle choice. Entries, which should be submitted via USPS to Kern Heart-Smart Art, 12265 Scripps Poway Parkway, #112-280, Poway, CA 92064 along with the entrant's name, mailing address, phone number and age, must be received no later than January 31, 2006, with the winner to be announced on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2006 - an appropriate day on which to honor "heart-smart art".

The child within each of the four available age categories (3-5, 6-8, 9-11 and 12-14) who best interprets a healthy lifestyle choice - as determined by a panel of health experts - will each receive prize package that includes:

  • A $250 cash prize awarded by Fitwize 4 Kids - a national chain of childrens' gymnasiums that promote adolescent physical fitness, health and wellness;
  • A free one-year membership to the (NASDAQ:DIET) personalized online Trim Kids™ Plan (;
  • Fifty free custom-designed SparklingCards™ ( - one-of-a-kind customized greetings for petite vases and other narrow-necked items, on which each winner's original work of art will be imprinted;
  • A set of "Yum Yum Dishes" from Grandma's Healthy Kids Club ( - fun, hand painted dishes that help teach kids portion control.
  • " A "Thumbs Up for Healthy Living" package featuring the patent pending EZ-Rope™ Classic ( - the jump rope without the middle™, a Thumbs Up For Healthy Living Interactive Workbook that aims to teach children about proper nutrition, good eating habits and basic fitness in a language they can understand (age 3-11 category winners), a Total Conditioning Cardio with EZ-Rope DVD (age 12-14 category winner), and a Thumbs Up Thermal Lunch Bag.

Fitwize 4 Kids founder and CEO Warren Gendel notes, "Fitwize 4 Kids' fundamental mission is to enhance our kids' collective understanding of how to make wise lifestyle choices, and to instill the motivation and desire to get - and stay - on a healthy track throughout their lifetime. Ms. Kern's new children's book is a fantastic tool in working toward this end, and we're extremely pleased to partner with her to champion the health of our nation's youth."

Kern's book It's Not Your Fault That You're Overweight is an empathetic and endearing fictional tale that portrays how America's kids have been "culturally programmed" into obesity, while also depicting tactical ways kids can make healthy lifestyle changes - and, in doing so, the rewards that will ensue. This ground-breaking book, which features illustrations by esteemed artist Jerry DeCrotie, is an inspirational book of book of hope that spotlights a representative overweight child who, by better understanding society's many pressures and influences as well as the importance of living healthfully, achieved his goal of living a healthier, happier life. The Boys' and Girls' edition paperback for 8-13-year olds as well as the gender-specific Coloring & Activity E-Book adaptations for children ages 7 and under can be purchased online via

Full "Heart Smart Art" contest rules and details can be accessed online at

About Fitwize 4 Kids Founded in 2005, Fitwize 4 Kids is the largest and most sophisticated national franchise exclusively dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of our nation's youth. With studios throughout the United States and in Australia, the company's unique approach combines fitness and fun through methods specifically designed for kids ages 6.5 to 15. Fitwize 4 Kids programs increase self-esteem and teach children how to implement proper nutrition and exercise habits in their ever day lives. For franchise information or to find a location near you, visit the company's Web site at, email them at, or call the corporate office at 1-877-FITWIZE.

About the Author of It's Not Your Fault That You're Overweight
Child health advocate Merilee A. Kern, MBA is the Co-Founder and CEO of Healthy Kids' Catalog ( - an online storefront offering a wide array of "Solutions That Foster Healthy Children™." Ms. Kern has worked in the $48-billion plus weight loss industry for over half a decade, including a multi-year tenure as a marketing executive with, Inc. (NASDAQ:DIET), a leading online nutrition, fitness and healthy living destination. Ms. Kern is a life-long fitness enthusiast and former bodybuilding champion twice over. She has spent all of her adult years devoted to good nutrition, fitness and healthy living - a lifestyle that she, together with her husband whom she met at the gym, now impart on their two young children. She earned both her Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She can be reached via email at or via telephone at 858-577-0206.

Note to Editors: If you would like to receive a free reviewer's hard and/or electronic PDF-formatted copy of this title, please contact Merilee Kern at 858-577-0206 or with your format (hard copy or electronic) and edition (boy, girl, or both) preference as well as your shipping information, if required. To access an online zip file containing the front and back cover jacket design, including health expert endorsements, for both editions along with story and illustration excerpts, go to Additional information, including childhood obesity statistics, can be found at