GO!Kids Youth Health Initiative launches next week

Heart of the Valley YMCA is launching GO!Kids, a free community program to grow fitter, healthier, food-wise children in Huntsville and Madison.

Go!Kids kicks off Sept 12 at Hogan Family Y in Madison and September 13 at Southeast Family Y in Huntsville.

Children age 7 to 12 will learn the importance of regular exercise and making smart food choices in the 12-week program. The program is free, and YMCA membership is not required.

“GO!Kids is an activity- and nutrition-based program incorporating exercise goals for the children to meet with their families from week to week,” said Sharon Allen, GO!Kids program director for Southeast Family Y. “We will measure their progress with pre- and post-assessments and offer incentives for completing goals along the way.”

According to a 2011 report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, nearly 36 percent of Alabama’s school-aged children are classified as overweight and 18 percent are classified as obese. This means that our kids are at greater risk for developing high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes, the kinds of chronic diseases more frequently associated with overweight adults.

“By now we have all heard that Alabama has one of the highest youth obesity rates of the 50 states, and the YMCA wants to do something about it,” said Scott Mounts, Heart of the Valley YMCA president/CEO.

“Eventually, we hope to take the GO!Kids program outside of the walls of the YMCA into the schools and other counties in our service area, and partner with other agencies to create a program that touches and impacts even more lives.”

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. GO!Kids is an initiative by Heart of the Valley YMCA, an association comprised of Southeast Y, Hogan Y and Downtown Y as well as three child care centers and Camp Cha-La-Kee in Guntersville, to improve the health and well-being of kids and families in our community.

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