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YMCA launches first run of 'Healthy Weight & Your Child' program

West Toledo YMCA starts a pilot run of new program combating child obesity.

TOLEDO, Ohio (WNWO) - A new program is hoping to combat the issue of child obesity in Lucas County.

"13% of our youth in the Lucas County area are obese, another 11% are overweight," said Bethany Deakins, Director of Healthy Living at the YMCA. "There is a really high need for this type of programming to take place."

The West Toledo YMCA is hoping to tackle this problem head on.

"They should be aiming for at least an hour a day of moderate to physical activity.” Said Susan Ruff, the Wellness Coordinator for the YMCA.

They’re focusing on the issue with a new program, 'Healthy Weight & Your Child.' They were picked as one of the pilot locations.

"We have about eight families currently enrolled, we will be able to accept up to 15," said Ruff.

It's a 15 week course, but it's different than most weight loss groups.

"In order for kids to be successful their family needs to be brought in," said Deakins.

The entire family is getting on their feet throughout the next 15 weeks. This way everyone is on the same page and the child is able to implement lessons learned in their daily lives.

"Their parents have to be given the education as well and involved in that day to day," said Deakins.

Following the education portion, everyone will start the physical activity.

"The second hour the kids will come here into the gym with me and do physical activity for an hour, the last 30 minutes’ parents will join us," said Ruff.

Each week they will try something new.

"Anything from basketball, to frisbee, jump rope. It just depends on the day,” said Deakins.

Each task will be no elimination, making sure everyone is keeping the blood flowing. Say a kid gets out in dodge ball, they will do another activity on the sidelines while they wait to come back in.

“We want to keep those kids moving at least 50% of the time, and at that time their doing a moderate to vigorous activity,” said Ruff.

Families participating have to have their child referred by a doctor or school nurse and fit the criteria.

"They must be seven to 13 with a BMI in the 95 percentile,” said Deakins. “We’re really looking at those kids who are high risk, and their families, to give them strategies they can use lifelong to make them healthier."

The goal is to not just create a permanent program following the pilot run, but to make the program available at more YMCA’s across the area.

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