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YMCA rolling out pilot program in fight against childhood obesity
Times-Tribune - 7/29/2019
Jul. 29--YMCAs in Dunmore and Wilkes-Barre are taking a stab at the childhood obesity crisis with a new pilot program.
Healthy Weight and Your Child, a brand new initiative by the chronic disease prevention departments at the Greater Scranton YMCA and Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA, is for children who have a body mass index, or BMI, at least in the 95th percentile.
BMI is calculated using a child's age, height, gender and weight. If a child is in the 95th percentile, that means 95 percent of other children of the same gender, age and height have a lower BMI, according to Nemours Children's Health System.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines obesity in children as being in the 95th percentile or above.
The CDC reports that 13.7 million children from ages 2 to 19 are obese in the United States, or about 19%. Around 15 percent of kids in Pennsylvania in grades nine through 12 are obese, according to available federal data.
Why it matters
Obesity in children can lead to deadly health complications later in life, including Type 2 diabetes, heart problems and some kinds of cancer.
Eligible children must get cleared for physical activity by a doctor or another health care provider and bring an accompanying adult for every session.
The 25-session program is to start in September with groups of eight to 15 children plus their adults. There's no cost for participants at this time.
Each two-hour session includes an hour of classroom instruction and an hour of physical activity to teach families how habits and choices help maintain a healthy weight.
For session 15, participants head to the grocery store to talk about shopping habits.
Families get "huddle activities," take-home assignments to be completed outside of class, Greater Scranton YMCA Health and Wellness Director Brandon Whipple said.
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The Healthy Weight and Your Child pilot program is to start in September.
For more information, call the YMCA Chronic Disease Prevention Departments.
Greater Scranton YMCA: 570-828-3230
Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA: 570-970-5052
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