YMCA Duels With Childhood Obesity - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/07/04

YMCA Duels With Childhood Obesity

Exercise can be fun. That's the message the Ocean Springs YMCA had for hundreds of children at its Healthy Kids Day on Wednesday.

Officials say one in every five school children is overweight. To combat childhood obesity, Healthy Kids Day promoted unconventional exercises to get kids thinking about the importance of eating right and staying fit.

The YMCA wants children kick the habit of spending all their time watching television or playing video games. Hopefully, a few moves from karate expert Mark Riddle will be the encouragement kids need.

"They generally have a lot of fun as long as its something they can do. As long as I'm not sitting there talking to them," said Riddle. "As long as it's some action like kicking or punching and that."

Healthy Kids Day was a duel with childhood obesity. The Y's weapon against this growing problem was to expose children to a variety of exercises like fencing, archery, and tumbling.

Mindy Pizzetta said the YMCA was "just trying to focus on different things. Things that kids maybe haven't thought about that could be exercising and still considered fun."

Kids also learned the difference that good nutrition can make in a healthy lifestyle. Kim Ludgood got the message.

"Because it will help you grow and you'll have strong bones."

YMCA officials say diabetes and low self esteem are just some the effects of childhood obesity.

by Danielle Thomas

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