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International Fellowship of Wellness and Fitness of Rotarians

IFRFR has been changed to International Fellowship of Wellness and Fitness of Rotarians.



Chair:  PDG Harold Friend (Boca Raton/6930),

Vice Chair:  Toshi Ihara (Hiroshima West/2710)

Newsletter Editor:  Kevin McAuliffe (Tokyo Hiroo/2750 )  

Letter from the Editor -- In this issue of the IFRFR newsletter Rotarian Jan Robinson writes about a fund raiser in St . Thomas that combines the Fellowship’s goals of running and fitness along with a service above self theme.   In addition there is the summary of a Stanford University study on the benefits of running for the middle aged and beyond and an analysis from Harvard Health on the merits of BMI and other ways to measure whether we are overweight and the risks attached. 

For those attending the RI convention in Birmingham in June, please stop by the IFRFR booth and if you have time volunteer to staff it for a short time.  Vice Chair Toshi Ihara will be at the booth some of the time but we could use additional help.  No experience necessary and it is an excellent way to meet other like-minded Rotarians.  Please contact either Harold Friend or Toshi Ihara at the e-mail addresses above if you can help at the convention.  

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 On March 8, 2009, six Rotarians -  Marston Winkles, Roger White, Jan Robinson, Jane Wherren, Wein Demitros, and Sam  Felder, participated and completed the sponsored walk across the island of St. John, a distance of thirteen miles from Hanson Bay to Cruz Bay. This requires starting at sea level, walking up to an elevation of 1,000 feet and then back down to sea level, several times; hills, hills, and more hills. Personal best times were broken and more than $13,000 was raised.  

Marston Winkles started this fundraiser with two other Rotarians, four years ago. The Rotary Club of St. Thomas is continuing its support for Rotary’s efforts to assist with land mine issues, which, on some level, affects people in over 60 countries around the world. We were able to leverage the funds raised from the 2006 sponsored walk to obtain further grant money from other areas of Rotary International for a total of $24,600. This has assisted 155 land mine victims of the twenty-year civil conflict in Northern Uganda with lower body prosthetic limbs and provided them with agricultural tools to assist them to be productive members of their society. In round terms this means that for every sponsorship dollar that was given, it enabled us to generate $4 of assistance. 

The 2007 funds have been used to contribute to a cooperative effort involving the Rotary Cub of St. Thomas and two Rotary clubs in Denmark as well as our Rotary colleagues in Uganda. The clubs have supplied resettlement assistance to 400 families, representing over 2,000 people, to enable them to move from the displacement camps and reestablish themselves back in their villages. We also continued to provide education assistance to a further 10 former child soldiers to enable them to restart their interrupted education. This continues the theme of our assistance in the past and is what has been chosen by the Rotarians in Uganda who identify the need and then carry out the project on the ground. 

From the 2008 fundraiser, we are again working with our Rotary colleagues in Denmark and Uganda on a further project involving resettlement.  

The leverage we have been able to achieve in order to obtain equipment for the automotive repair section of the Vocational Education Department of Charlotte Amalie High School has been even better. We are working on another project with our adopted school to continue to provide relevant work related skills to non-college-bound students, again thanks to the support we receive. 

The three projects we are supporting this year are: 

1.   To provide further supplies to the Vocational Education department of the Charlotte Amalie High School.

2.   To support Rotary’s efforts in land mine eradication and victim support in Uganda.

3.   To provide assistance to the Savan Boys Club in St. Thomas (an after school program for at-risk youth) 

P.S. from Sam (Sylvia) Felder  

  “When I decided to participate in the St. Johnathon, I had no idea what I had actually signed up for.  My very first preview was the previous Monday while I was showing my friends from Oregon the island of St. John. What had I done?  The walk looked absolutely IMPOSSIBLE! 

   My whole inspiration was Jan Robinson, my dear friend and Rotarian who was now sporting two new hips.  My thought was if she could do it; so could I. Well, I finished as the last turtle across the line after 13 steep, tough hills all the way to Cruz Bay.  My friend, Toni Lacer joined me after the first five miles in Coral Bay and helped me make it through.  I amazed myself and definitely felt entitled to a few bragging rights to my friends and family.  “WHEW! What a walk....” 


 Group at 5.45 a.m. in Cruz Bay




Start of walk/run Hanson Bay, St. John


 Roger White up the hill

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Decades-Long Analysis Finds Older Runners Reap Survival Benefits

From:  Arch Internal Med, 2008, Vol. 168, No. 15, pp. 1638-1646

A 21-year study has found that running regularly in middle age and beyond is an effective means of staving off disabilities later, and may increase lifespan. The study comes from the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University in California. It was conducted over two decades on northern California residents aged 50 and over.

The analysis started in 1984, and looked at 538 members of a national masters (50+) running club. The control group was made up of 423 healthy nonmembers of similar age. Annual questionnaires were given, asking both groups to report running and exercise frequency, BMI, and disability as assessed by the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index, which scores from zero (no difficulty) to three (unable to perform). Various techniques compared groups on disability and mortality.

At the start, the runners were leaner and less likely to smoke than the controls. They were also younger. Nevertheless, after adjusting for these factors, runners lived longer and healthier. The mean disability factor was higher for the control group at every time period measured though it increased with age in both groups, but to a lesser degree in runners. After 19 years, 15% of runners had died, compared to 34% of controls. After 21 years, 284 runners and 156 controls remained. In addition to lower disability scores reported among the running group, it took much longer for runners to reach various levels of disability.

The study recommends moderate to vigorous exercise at middle age (and older) for improved health and general wellbeing.

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A Simpler Approach to Fat Measure
From: Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Health Letter, Jan. 09

Most of us have our private ways of assessing how fat we are. We feel our pants getting snug, notice certain lumps and curves during the morning shower, perhaps feel the breathless pinch of the growing midsection as we back out the car or tie our shoes. But there are more objective ways to answer the question—even if they borrow from these time-tested “techniques.” One thing is certain, the simpler the better. Still, body fat measurement benefits from a triangular approach.

Body mass index, or BMI, is computed by taking your weight in kilograms and dividing it by the square of your height in meters. BMI is easy to calculate, and in most people, it correlates reasonably well with overall body fat. It’s also a good measure of health risk: as a rule, when BMIs go up, so do deaths, particularly from cardiovascular disease. But BMI doesn’t distinguish whether the pounds are from fat or from fat-free tissue like muscle and bone. This can be an issue with runners and other athletes, but it also affects those on the opposite end of the continuum. Certain people with BMIs in the normal range are at risk because, while their body weight is not necessarily excessive for their height, more of their weight is simply made up of fat. BMI also doesn’t tell us about the type of fat we’re carrying—a significant shortcoming, as the type of fat that builds up in the abdomen is believed to be particularly unhealthful.

Waist measurement puts a different spin on obesity: it’s no longer about weight or total body fat, but about the metabolically active fat that collects around the organs in our abdomens. In fact, there’s mounting evidence that waist circumference makes a better predictor of diabetes than BMI, and a rather good indicator of heart disease risk. Measuring waist circumference identifies the sizable group of people who pass muster when it comes to BMI but whose large waists put them at higher risk. Still, waist measurement hasn’t become part of routine medical practice for several reasons.

For one thing, there’s some uncertainty about exactly where the waist should be measured, although navel-level is widely accepted. And given all the other information that’s collected on patients—blood pressure, cholesterol levels, BMI—it’s not certain that adding a waist measurement to the mix would affect treatment decisions. The real benefit of this measurement comes from its simplicity and therefore its ability to be self-administered.

To measure your waist circumference, locate the upper hip bone and place a measuring tape around the abdomen (ensuring that the tape measure is horizontal). The tape measure should be snug but should not cause compressions on the skin. Then use the following guidelines:

1. Regardless of waist circumference, a BMI of under 25 is considered normal weight. The healthy cut-off for waist circumference in a man is 40 inches and for a woman 35 inches, but no data exists on whether there are health issues related to greater waist sizes than this with a BMI in the normal range.

2. At a BMI of 25 to 29.9 with a waist circumference of up to 40 inches for men, risk of BMI-related disease is “increased”. For women, this remains the same as for men but with a waist circumference cut-off at 35 inches. And at this BMI, a waist circumference of over 40 in men (and over 35 in women) puts the risk at “high”.

3. At a BMI of 30 and higher with a waist circumference for men of up to 40 inches (35 in women), these risks change from “high” to “very high”. If you are under 40 inches (35 in women), then these risks are categorized as merely “high”.

As the above information illustrates, the problem with relying on waist circumference is that, as an absolute value with a kind of warning-system mentality, it is not that useful for modestly out-of-shape people looking to trim up and then assess what a good waist size may be. Moreover, the definition of “too large a waist” may need revision: some studies show that health risks start well before the current cut-offs.

Waist circumference’s predecessor, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), works like BMI, on a proportional scale, but with the added value of scrutinizing midsection fat.

The WHR is a simple calculation: waist circumference divided by hip circumference. A small waist combined with big hips yields a smaller number than a big waist with small hips—and smaller is better when it comes to WHR. For women, the risk for heart disease, stroke, and other health problems starts to climb at a ratio of about 0.85, so that is often set as the cut-off for a “good” ratio. For men, the cut-off is at about 0.90. (.89 translates to a 32-inch waist with 36-inch hips.) Waist circumference has eclipsed WHR, but the WHR may be ready for a comeback. Research shows that WHR is more strongly associated with heart disease than waist circumference alone. By taking hip circumference into account, the ratio is more sensitive to the difference between dangerous abdominal fat and the less harmful layer of fat we carry under the skin throughout the body.

Your waist-to-hip ratio is an important tool that helps you determine your overall health risk. People with more weight around their waist are at greater risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips. It is a simple and useful measure of fat distribution.

Use a measuring tape to check the waist and hip measurements.

1. Measure your hip circumference at its widest part.
2. Measure your waist circumference at the belly button or just above it.
3. Divide 2. by 1.

And so it seems you really need all of these tools together. Each fat measuring tool tells you one thing in relation to the others, and by triangulating the data a picture emerges of your overall health, fitness level, and risk of overweight or obesity-related disease.

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International Fellowship of Running and Fitness Rotarians


Would you be interested in serving?  IFRFR, as all Rotary activities, needs volunteers to serve as officers and to support specific activities. Indicate your interest:










_____New ($25) for 2 years (includes IFRFR pin)    ______Renewal ($20) for 2 years


_____Rotary Life ($100) (includes pin) 

Mail payments (Send check made out to Rotary (US bank, traveler’s check or cash)

or send credit card information (charge will appear as Boca Neurology): 

PDG Harold Friend, MD  1500 NW 10th Ave. # 105  Boca Raton, FL 33486, USA 

The International Fellowship of Running and Fitness Rotarians is a group of Rotarians 
dedicated to promoting running, fitness and health as an opportunity for fellowship and service. 
This fellowship operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not an agency of, 
or controlled by, Rotary International.



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