Diet Detective’s Calorie Bargains: WiFi Scale; Blood Pressure Monitor for iPhone; Wallie Exercises; Joy of Cooking for Children

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Calorie Bargain: Withings The WiFi Body Scale
The Why: This looks like a regular scale, but when you open up the packaging it comes in you can tell it’s different. There is a USB cord that connects to your computer. The setup is pretty simple. And once you’re up and running, the Withings WiFi Body Scale automatically records your body weight, lean and fat mass and calculated body mass index (BMI) and sends the information to a Web page (that you create during the setup process), or, better yet, to your iPhone. It also works with an iPad or Android. One scale will handle and manage input from up to eight users.
The Health Bonus: Frequent self-weighing will not make you depressed, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota. The study, which was published in the journal Preventive Medicine, found no strong evidence linking frequent scale-stepping with depression in women. In addition, daily weighing, rather than once a week or month, was associated with lower Body Mass Index levels in women 40 years or older. Finally, a study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that daily weighing is helpful “to individuals trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain.”
What We Liked Best: It’s really cool that you can weigh yourself and have the results show up in a chart on your phone. Also, you can weigh yourself without actually looking at the scale and then simply look at the end of the week.
The Price: $159.00 plus shipping.
Where to Buy:

Calorie Bargain: Blood Pressure Monitor
The Why: Yes, another cool Withings product. Blood pressure is an important indicator of health. That’s why it gets taken every time you go to the doctor. The Withings Blood Pressure Monitor measures, calculates and graphs your blood pressure. It connects right to your iPhone and automatically puts the results into the Withings free app so you don’t have to manually update your health information.
The Health Bonus: According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.” Additionally, “High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems.”
What We Liked Best: If you use Microsoft HealthVault or Google Health you can activate synchronization so that all your health records are in a single place.
The Price: $129.00
Where to Buy:

Calorie Bargain: Wallie Exercises by Steve Ettinger (Active Spud Press, 2011)
The Why: Getting kids to think about exercise and moving more is a great idea. And Steve Ettinger, who is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer living in New York City, came up with a cute story for this book. I gave it to my 8-year-old daughter, and she thought the book was great. What’s it about? Here is a synopsis from the publisher: “Wallie is mostly a wonderful dog, but his super-laziness has become a problem. So his boy convinces him to go on an adventure to get fit. With a little help from a big friend, Wallie learns how to exercise. Will he enjoy the change from pudgy pup to healthy hound or will he return to his lazy ways? Learn important fitness concepts while following Wallie on his hilarious journey to get in shape. A special section with more information and original exercises (performed by Wallie) will get every kid (and pup) excited about exercise.”
The Health Bonus: Helping children understand that being sedentary is not healthy.
What We Liked Best: It sends a great message and is nicely illustrated.
The Price: $15.95
Where to Buy:,

Calorie Bargain: We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities by Jessica Fishman Levinson, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., and Maja Pitamic (Barron’s Educational Series, 2011)
The Why: Cooking is fun, and Jessica Levinson, a New York City registered dietitian, is a great teacher. The cookbook is designed to show parents how to make healthy foods with their 3- to 6-year-olds. It presents dozens of easy recipes for wholesome foods, including blueberry muffins, vegetable dips, veggie pizza, frozen raspberry popsicles, three-bean salad, raisin and cinnamon buns, turkey strips with tomato salsa, cheese and ham croissants, even chocolate brownies.
The Health Bonus: In addition to teaching children how to cook, the book also shows them how to test fruits for ripeness, test eggs for freshness, create a grocery list and measure liquid and dry ingredients.
What We Liked Best: The fun color pages and the great recipes.
The Price: $17.99
Where to Buy:,

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