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Stories this week at WFU

July 12, 2006

HOW TO BUY A GOOD PEDOMETER – According to a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the least expensive pedometers, costing around $1.50, are unreliable. By scanning the inventory of a large sporting goods store, consumers will notice that the step-counters can cost as much as $99. But Gary Miller, Wake Forest University associate professor of health and exercise science, said you don’t have to break the bank to get an accurate piece of equipment. “It is difficult to figure out which ones are the best, but generally speaking, an accurate pedometer costs around $20,” he said. “We use pedometers in this price range for our research studies.” Miller said that while cheap pedometers may not count steps accurately, they can be useful in another way. “Some people may like to wear an inexpensive pedometer as a way to remind themselves to fit more activity into their day,” he said. “For them, the number of steps is not as important as the fact that they make an effort to remember to take more steps on a daily basis.”

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

ROUNDING PRICES WOULD NOT COST CONSUMERS MORE MONEY If the penny were eliminated, rounding prices to the nearest nickel would not cost consumers extra money, according to a new study by Robert Whaples, professor of economics at Wake Forest. Whaples, who believes it is time to get rid of the penny, presented his findings in May at the John Locke Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank. Whaples estimates the United States loses $900 million a year on penny production and handling. In a penny-free market place, prices would be rounded to the nearest nickel for cash transactions. Because retailers price items to end in nine to entice customers, penny-preserving proponents claim that prices would tend to round up rather than down, creating an extra expense or “rounding tax” for consumers. Based on current retail prices, Whaples found that getting rid of the penny would not lead to a rounding tax. His research focused on data from a week’s worth of transactions (about 200,000) from 20 locations of a convenience store chain in six states. He concentrated on the cash purchases and rounded prices to the nearest nickel, applicable taxes included, and found that the consumers and the stores broke even. Whaples said debunking the myth of the rounding tax adds to the mounting evidence in support of eliminating the penny, which includes the rising cost of zinc, and that sentiment is the main reason the penny is still around. “What I’ve outlined in my research is the cost that we impose on ourselves by having pennies, by having this emotional attachment to the penny,” he said.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

KEEP YOUR COOL WHEN EXERCISING IN THE HEAT Summer is here and that means more people will take their workouts outside. Jim Ross, program director of Wake Forest’s Healthy Exercise & Lifestyle ProgramS (HELPS), said even the most fit gym rat should be wary of the dangers of heat stroke and take steps to prevent it. “You can die from heat stroke,” Ross said. “A non-fatal case of heat stroke makes you susceptible to it again because you ruin your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that regulates body temperature.” Ross said anyone who wants to take their workouts outside should follow these four basic steps:

  • Let your body adjust to exercising in the heat by working out at a lower intensity for the first one or two weeks.

  • Stay hydrated. To find out how much water you should drink, Ross said weigh yourself before and after working out. For every pound you lose, drink one pint of water. Ross said that water – not sports drinks – is what most people should drink.
  • Work out during the coolest time of the day, which is just before the sun rises in the morning, not after 5 or 6 p.m.
  • Wear as little clothing as possible so that sweat can evaporate, which is how your body cools itself. Also, wear light-colored clothing that reflects the sun’s rays, and wear moisture-wicking clothing designed to remove perspiration from the skin. “This type of clothing will help the person feel drier than cotton clothing would, as cotton absorbs perspiration and makes the clothing feel heavy,” Ross said.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

INCOMING STUDENTS FOCUS ON PLAY ‘AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE’ – Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s late 19th Century play “An Enemy of the People” will get close scrutiny this fall by incoming Wake Forest students. Students have been asked to read and reflect on the play and its central question – how does an ethical individual defy a corrupted majority? – as part of the university’s annual summer reading program. A Sunday afternoon theater performance called “Wake World” during orientation will raise a number of themes found in the play, and students will have an opportunity to discuss the play during dinner with faculty advisors and advising groups that night. The Wake Forest theatre department will be featuring “An Enemy of the People” in its fall schedule. A list of questions to consider, and a copy of the play have been sent to incoming students. Wake Forest’s summer reading program seeks to provide a common text for incoming students in an effort to address the social and intellectual changes taking place in their lives.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or (336) 758-5237.

WAKE FOREST HOSTS NEW STATE DEPARTMENT-FUNDED PROGRAM FOR U.S., EUROPEAN YOUTH This summer, Wake Forest is the first university in the nation to host a new, U.S. Department of State-sponsored program aimed at strengthening U.S.-European relations by building bridges between youth from the United States and 32 European and Eurasian countries. Named in honor of America’s first diplomat, the “Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Initiative: Summer Institute for Youth” (BFTFI) is the first youth-oriented program funded by the U.S. Department of State to focus exclusively on U.S.-European relations. Through July 22, 35 European students and 10 American students will live together in a residence hall, participate in three workshops addressing diplomacy-related topics, complete a community service project, visit the European Studies Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stay for a weekend with Winston-Salem area host families and take field trips to Williamsburg, Va., Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. “This program aims to empower the younger generation of Americans and Europeans to face global challenges in the 21st Century together,” said Allan Louden, director of the BFTFI, associate professor of communication and director of debate at Wake Forest. For more information about the BFTFI, go to

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or (336) 758-5237.

PARENTS CAN EASE NEW SCHOOL TRANSITION FOR CHILDREN – Moving to a new school can be difficult for children, but parents can help ease the transition, according to Donna Henderson, professor of counseling at Wake Forest and co-author of “The Handbook of School Counseling.” “The transition from one school to the next is a point at which children have more opportunities for trouble,” said Henderson, whose family moved more than a dozen times before she graduated from high school. First, demystify it, she said. “Let the child know what to expect,” she said. “Don't tell them horror stories about your own experiences.”

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

TEACHERS AND TECHNOLOGY: WHAT PARENTS SHOULD KNOW – The more parents know about the technology available to teachers, the better they can help their children make the most of it, according to Ann Cunningham, associate professor of education at Wake Forest. “Technology helps improve communication between teachers and families (through) e-mail, Web sites, newsletters and postcards,” Cunningham said. “These techniques save hours of valuable teacher time and make communication with home easy to do with greater frequency.” But, Cunningham said teachers are more likely to update class Web sites and use other technology resources when they get positive feedback form parents and students. Parents also need to know what technologies can help their kids if they are struggling in school.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

Press Contacts:

Jacob McConnico
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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