New Program Hopes to Help Families Overcome Child Obesity
Community partners are off to the races to support families in addressing child obesity.
“A really positive direction we are moving [in] is targeting those who need us the most, which is our youth,” Crow Wing Energized Coordinator Cassie Carey said.
Crow Wing Energized is teaming up with the YMCA to bring the “Healthy Weight and Your Child” program to the community.
“Obesity is rising, particularly among youth,” said Shane Riffle, Brainerd YMCA CEO. “That is a great time to work with both kids and families to change that behavior; it’s always better to catch it earlier than try to work with it later on in life after they’ve developed other chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes and a number of the other conditions that come through obesity.”
Throughout the program, the leaders will set up a variety of different exercises and classroom activities to help lead families down the path to a healthier lifestyle.
“The beauty of healthy eating and active living is that it’s a perfect fit for all of the resiliency building work that is going on in our community,” Carey said.
The work will start in Brainerd, but eventually lead to healthier families all across the country.
“I think it is going to be outstanding, we are going to learn a lot and we are going to be able to teach a lot of people even in our country, our state some of the best practices that we will be utilizing and learning from,” Carey said.
The Brainerd YMCA was one of only 20 Ys across the country to be selected for the new program.
“It’s an honor to have been selected, it was a really competitive process nationally so being one of 20 is an honor for us,” Riffle said.
And it’s a responsibility that they don’t take lightly.
“Our hope is obviously that we are creating a positive, healthy change for our community and making it easier for everybody to do what is best for themselves and their families,” Carey said.
That’s by making the healthy choice the easy choice.
“One of the greatest things is that kids from all income levels can participate in this with their families; at the Y, we have financial assistance, but this program is intended to be free so anyone that is referred will be able to come to the program for free regardless of income,” Riffle said.
The program is expected to launch this winter after families are referred to the program by local pediatricians and school counselors.