Children's "Heart-Smart Art Contest" Winners Announced

Initiative inspired America's youth to 'think health' at onset of the New Year by artistically depicting good lifestyle choices

SAN DIEGO, Calif., February 14, 2006 - Child health advocate Merilee A. Kern, co-founder and CEO of - a soon-to-launch online catalog offering "Solutions That Foster Healthy Children™" and author of the healthy living-themed fictional 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 the four winners for the adolescent "Heart Smart Art" contest jointly launched with Fitwize 4 Kids ( - America's fastest growing chain of fitness centers specifically designed to foster kids' health education, physical activity and nutrition awareness. The contest, which launched January 3, was intended to get elementary and middle-school age children off to a healthy start in 2006. The winning artwork can be accessed at

And the winners are:

1) Erika Caturay, Age 13, Millbrae, CA
Judge's Comments: "Erika's beautifully illustrated drawing depicts a boy at a snack bar contemplating whether he should choose junk food or healthy fare, ultimately making the wise choice. Not only did she clearly portray this concept in the picture, but took the time to provide an explanation about her drawing that included her comment 'I think this is what everyone should be eating for snack, etc. instead of junk food…'. We could not agree more, Erika. Well done."

2) Erin Catherine Macke, Age 11, Indianapolis, IN
Judge's Comments: "Erin's drawing used the theme 'Balance Your Life' to portray that living healthfully requires a well rounded approach of both nutrition and fitness. Not only is Erin right on with the notion that both diet and exercise are imperative to one's health and well-being, but also that, with these good behaviors in place, one's 'whole life' will benefit. We applaud this insightful 11-year old."

3) Patrick Schornstaedt, Age 8, Hamilton, NJ
Judge's Comments: "Patrick's adorable pen and ink picture he entitled 'Make the Healthy Choice' not only illustrated a variety of healthy foods, but also captioned each one with the actual health benefits provided. For kids to make good dietary choices on the own volition, they must understand exactly how these choices will positively impact their body, which Patrick clearly does. Kudos to him."

4) Juliana Bigelow, Age 5, Colorado Springs, CO
Judge's Comments: "Juliana's lovely depiction of a child choosing to jump rope instead of watching TV, for which she used both water color and crayon, was the deciding factor. Even this 5-year old knows that kids' health would fare far better by being active rather than watching TV. Right you are, Juliana!"

5) Honorable Mention: The judge's applaud the following educators who encouraged entire classrooms to participate in this health-wise contest, the result of which was full packages containing multiple student entries:

  • Eileen Lernen, Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School, Tallahassee, Florida
  • Susan Brook, South Rock Creek School, Shaunee, Oklahoma
  • [Teacher Unknown], Discovery Canyon Campus, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Each winner from the four available age categories (3-5, 6-8, 9-11 and 12-14) who, according to the judges, best interpreted a healthy lifestyle choice will 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, a Thumbs Up Thermal Lunch bag, (age 3-11 category winners), EZ-Rope Classic and a Fun and Fitness the EZ-Way 30 minute conditioning manual (age 12-14 category winner).

"This contest inspired kids to think about healthy living in an entirely different, creative way - one where they had to consider lifestyle decisions made at the individual level," said Kern. "The entries received confirm this 'exercise' helped children contemplate good and bad lifestyle choices they are presented with each day, and think through the best course of action to take to promote their health and well-being. The initiative was a resounding success."

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 Author Merilee A. Kern
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