Pediatric Fitness Initiative Partnering with YMCA

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UW Health Pediatric Fitness Initiative is Partnering with Dane County YMCA for the YKidzFit ProgramMADISON – Schools and communities looking to address the issue of childhood obesity and helping kids learn healthy lifestyle habits have a partner they can count on for help.

Since its opening in 2005, UW Health's Pediatric Fitness Clinic has worked with several Wisconsin middle schools to help develop and test the effectiveness of a lifestyle curriculum. As opposed to the stereotypical physical education activities of dodgeball, or other similar team activities, a lifestyle curriculum focuses on activities kids can do any time like bicycle riding, roller blading, or cross-country skiing in winter.

The Pediatric Fitness Clinic is now teaming up with the Dane County YMCA for an afterschool YKidzFit program. The program, which originated in 2005, is a fitness-based initiative for kids ages eight to 12. It focuses on games, sports and fitness activities to make good health fun. The Y received the Carol White Physical Education grant in 2007 that enabled them to partner with the UW Health Pediatric Fitness Clinic.

"We wanted to get into the schools and help make the kids a little bit more active since they've seen such a reduction in physical education programming," said Julie Logue, health and fitness director for the West YMCA.

The program provides kids with the opportunity to exercise twice a week in the YMCA's afterschool program. Kids get tested twice a year at the UW clinic to measure pre- and post-program fitness levels.

"In the clinic we look at body composition through a DEXA scan, or dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, that measures bone, muscle and fat. We also do VO2 max testing, which measure how efficiently a body can use oxygen," explained Randy Clark, exercise science manager with the Pediatric Fitness Clinic.

"These are the same tests we run on Badger athletes, Ironman and Olympic athletes. The kids have great fun and they walk out feeling like a hero having been in the same lab as these high-level athletes."

Currently the YKidzFit program is focused on school sites that participate in the YMCA's afterschool program. Any child who participates in the YMCA's program can participate in the YKidzFit program as well.

"My hope is that everyone just creates a fondness for lifelong activity," concluded Logue. "We just want kids to be happy, healthy and have a great trim throughout their life."

Date Published: 10/08/2008

News tag(s):  pediatric fitness

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