CARROLLWOOD — The Bob Sierra Family YMCA is not taking on the problem of childhood obesity by sitting down.
Starting this month, the YMCA is offering several after-school classes to incorporate regular physical activity and healthy daily eating into the regular routine for school-age kids, with its monthly Fit Start for Kids program.
There will be weekly classes throughout the month. Boys ages 8-13 will meet after school on Mondays and girls will get together after school on Wednesdays.
Michelle Sussman, group fitness director at the Bob Sierra location, said it’s one of the many projects the YMCA is taking on to stop childhood obesity. The summer was a busy one at the YMCA, but, with school starting, kids tend to get a little lazy, so the YMCA is stepping up its efforts to spread the message.
“The purpose of everything we do is to educate kids about the importance of healthy living,” Sussman said. “The Fit Start for Kids program is all about showing kids how to make positive decisions.”
Sussman said that there is a 13.1 percentage rate of obesity among children in the state of Florida. One in eight preschoolers are considered obese, which puts them at risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Childhood obesity is also a trigger that the kids will be obese into their adulthood.
Fit Start classes are open to boys and girls ages 8 to 12. Fit Start boys meet on Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the TRX room at the Bob Sierra YMCA on 4029 Northdale Blvd. Fit Start girls meet at the same location on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
If a child currently attends the after-school program at the Bob Sierra Youth and Family Center, the YMCA will pick up the participants at 5 p.m. and they will walk or jog over to the YMCA for a great warm-up for the class.
The cost for Fit Start is $25 a month for YMCA facility members and $40 a month for YMCA program members, and financial assistance is available on request.
“It’s a fun program and a great way to get kids involved,” Sussman said. “We are excited to get started.”
For more on the Fit Start For Kids program, call (813) 962-3220.