WATERTOWN, NY – In March 2019, the Watertown Family YMCA will begin offering Healthy Weight and Your Child, a pilot program designed to empower children between the ages of 7-13, with the support from their families, to reach a healthy weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago. Today, one in six children are obese and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for a number of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and mental health issues.
“The Watertown Family YMCA has a long history of advancing the health and well-being of children in the Watertown Community, and helping children reach a healthy weight is important now more than ever,” said Michelle Graham, Senior Director of Health and Wellness, The Watertown Family YMCA “Healthy Weight and Your Child will help children experience improved health outcomes and higher self-esteem, and families will feel empowered to make and support healthier choices.”
The 25-session program engages the whole family, so together they can understand how the home environment and other factors influence the choices that lead to a healthy weight.
Additionally, the program combines three elements of healthy eating, regular physical activity and behavior change.
Made up of groups of eight to 15 children and an accompanying adult, the program creates a safe, fun, and active environment for children and their families to explore and adopt proven methods to living a healthier lifestyle. Sessions are two hours in length, with the first hour delivered in a classroom setting and the second hour focusing on physical activity.
Children eligible for the program must be between the ages of 7 and 13, have a body mass index greater than or equal to the 95th percentile, receive approval from their doctor or a health care provider, and accompanied by an adult at every session.