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Youth Fitness Clinic Helps Kids Develop Healthy Habits for Life

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Young girl exercisingMADISON – Everyone has a theory as to what is causing the obesity epidemic in today’s youth -- whether it’s video games, fast food, or a sedentary lifestyle. The Pediatric Fitness Clinic of American Family Children’s Hospital is setting out to stem the tide and determine the best means for dealing with the issue.

"It’s a true preventive health care program," said Paul Montague, director of the project to develop the clinic into a Center. "We deal with kids who aren’t necessarily sick yet, but their risks are increased for such things as obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease."

Through the Pediatric Fitness Clinic, kids and their parents work with pediatricians, exercise physiologists, even nutritionists to identify and develop fitness and lifestyle changes that are sustainable and more importantly, fun.

Since its beginning five years ago, the Pediatric Fitness Clinic has shared space at the UW Health Research Park Clinic on the near west side of Madison. It is the same facility in which the Sports Medicine Center is located.

"The kids get a big kick out of using the same facilities as the Badger athletes," said Montague.

Many children learn of the clinic through word of mouth, including from their PE teachers, other parents, or even on television. Many are also referred to the clinic by their pediatrician or family physician.

Last year, the clinic served approximately 600 patients and expects to double that in 2008. While the number of patients served has increased substantially, the facilities haven’t. That is why efforts are underway to construct a new Center for Youth Fitness.

The $1.7 million addition would expand the Research Park Clinic facilities and provide more space specifically for research and an exercise demonstration area.

"This isn’t a health club for kids," Montague explained. "It’s a research facility and teaching laboratory that would enable us to learn what works with kids and then be able to bring that out into the community."

Efforts are already underway to raise the needed funds, with the hope that the addition can be completed by the end of the year.

According to Montague, "We have extraordinary doctors and staff and the program continues to grow. By establishing the Center, we can really take the next step and start to bring what we are learning across the state. That’s our goal."

To learn more about the Pediatric Fitness Clinic, visit www.uwhealth.org/fitkids or call (608) 890-8562.
 

Date Published: 03/18/2008


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