The Kennebec Valley YMCA — Manchester Campus will offer Healthy Weight and Your Child from 6 to 8 p.m. beginning Monday, March 25, at the Kennebec Valley YMCA, 40 Granite Hill Road, Manchester. The program will be held Mondays and Wednesdays.

The pilot program is designed to empower children between the ages of 7 and 13, with the support from their families, to reach a healthy weight and live a healthier lifestyle. The last day to register is Friday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects 17 percent of all children and adolescents in the U.S. Today, one in six children are obese and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for a number of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and mental health issues, according to a news release from the YMCA.

“The Kennebec Valley YMCA has a long history of advancing the health and well-being of children in Kennebec Valley and helping children reach a healthy weight is important now more than ever,” said Feargal Semple, Healthy Living director, according to the release. “Healthy Weight and Your Child will help children experience improved health outcomes and higher self-esteem, and families will feel empowered to make and support healthier choices.”

The 25-session program engages the whole family, so together they can understand how the home environment and other factors influence the choices that lead to a healthy weight. Additionally, the program combines three elements of healthy eating, regular physical activity and behavior change.

Made up of groups of eight to 15 children and an accompanying adult, the program creates a safe, fun and active environment for children and their families to explore and adopt proven methods to living a healthier lifestyle. Sessions are two hours in length, with the first hour delivered in a classroom setting and the second hour focusing on physical activity.

Children eligible for the program must be between the ages of 7 and 13, have a body mass index greater than or equal to the 95th percentile, receive approval from their doctor or a health care provider, and accompanied by an adult at every session.

The cost is $100 (includes membership during the program), scholarships are available. People are encouraged to apply for scholarships if needed. 

For more information, contact Feargal Semple, Healthy Living director, at 622-9622, ext. 122, or [email protected].

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