YMCA of Central Florida Combats Childhood Obesity with New Program

Healthy Weight and Your Child pilot program aims to get kids and families to develop healthy eating and physical activity habits.

Orlando, FL, Sept. 9, 2015 – Announced today, the YMCA of Central Florida will begin offering Healthy Weight and Your Child, a pilot program designed to empower children between the ages of 7-13, with 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 YMCA of Central Florida has a long history of advancing the health and well-being of local children, and helping them reach a healthy weight is important now more than ever,” said Kelly Prather, MHSE, YMCA Executive Director of Health Strategies. “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 yearlong 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 healthy eating, regular physical activity and behavior change. Made up of groups of eight to 15 children and their parents/caregivers, 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. Most sessions are 2 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 a parent or caregiver at every session. Prior to enrollment, families are required to attend one information session, which are being held this month throughout Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Brevard counties. For a complete list of dates and locations, click here.  The YMCA of Central Florida is one of five Ys in the U.S. to run this pilot program. For more information contact Kelly Prather, YMCA Executive Director of Health Strategies at (407) 895 8659 or email [email protected].   About the YMCA of Central Florida The YMCA of Central Florida is one of the area’s largest nonprofits committed to strengthening communities across Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Lake and Marion counties. It is a diverse organization of men, women and children joined by a shared commitment to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Each day 35,000 Central Florida residents are impacted by the Y when a mentor inspires a child, individuals make healthy choices and a community comes together for common good. In 2014, this YMCA Association of over 1,800 employees across engaged over 235,000 residents and invested $10.2 million in its local communities. The YMCA of Central Florida also provided $9.4 million in financial assistance to children and families, which supported lasting personal and social change. Learn more at www.ymcacf.org.