By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
It’s no secret that lack of activity and being overweight contributes to health problems among youths, increasing their risk for high blood pressure and diabetes.
YMCA branches in Snohomish County want to help. They’re offering a free, 12-week series of classes to help kids get into shape.
The classes, called Actively Changing Together, are for children ages 8 to 11 and teens 12 to 14. Participating kids must be overweight and referred by their physician. A parent must agree to come to each class with their child.
Up to 20 kids can participate in the classes, which are being offered at YMCA branches in Everett, Mill Creek, Marysville, Monroe and Mukilteo.
The goal is to help families build new nutrition and exercise patterns. Kids will get to participate in activities such as basketball, dodgeball, yoga, Zumba aerobics and kick boxing.
“We hopefully can find something for everyone,” said Ronda Hardcastle, health and wellness director for the Marysville YMCA. Parents can participate in the activities as well.
One of the classes at the Marysville YMCA will be taught in Spanish.
Kids who participated in a previous class found that their weight dropped, they ate healthier foods, they reduced the time they spent on the computer or watching TV and increased their activity levels, Hardcastle said.
One of the dads who participated with his son lost nearly 100 pounds over a year, she said. “He obviously was a great example for his kid.”
The classes are designed to help families find activities that they can enjoy together and still benefit from, Hardcastle said.
“It’s not your every-day exercise class,” she said. “There’s not a lot of push-ups going on.
“They get to play dodgeball with their parents. That’s a fun one they love.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the list of area YMCAs where the 12-week series of classes to help overweight kids get into shape are being offered:
Start Date: Feb. 5; Tuesdays, 6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.; Kids 8 to 11
Optional Youth Strength and Conditioning Class; Thursdays, 4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact: Gael Thomson 425-374-5703
Start Date: Feb. 4; Spanish: Mondays, 5:45-7:15 p.m.
Start Date: Feb. 6 ; English: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Teens 12 to 14
Contact: Kathy Maness 360-651-1625
Mill Creek Branch
Start Date: March 4, Mondays, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Kids 8 to 11
Contact: Jeralin Olson 425-357-3033
Monroe/Sky Valley Branch
Start Date: Feb. 5, Tuesdays, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Kids 8 to 11
Contact: Lynnette Monpas 360-804-2162
Start Date: Feb. 5, Tuesdays, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Kids 8 to 12
Contact: Laurie George 425-493-2407