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January 15, 2014

          Kids In Motioninitiative showing success in improving children’s health

Huntington,WV  ̶  Kidsin Motion, a fun and innovative exercise and nutrition program designed toimprove the health of Tri-State area children, has experienced great successduring the first months of the program and has now expanded to include parents.

Kids in Motion is a joint initiativeof the Huntington YMCA, Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center,the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and Cabell County Schools. It is theonly program of its kind in West Virginia.

At the heart of Kids in Motion isKid Fit, a 10-week program to get kids ages 5-14 moving and having fun, whilealso learning about fitness and nutrition. Weight, body mass index, body fatpercentage and blood pressure is tracked throughout the program to measureprogress and to customize the program to fit each child.

During Kid Fit, children utilizeexergaming equipment, which combines video games and exercise. “It has to be interesting and funfor kids to stay involved,” said George Smailes, executive director of theHuntington YMCA. “The kids get so caught up in these games that they don’t evenrealize the impact it’s having on their health. That’s what we want—for them tobe active without even thinking about exercise.”

Jamie Berry, the program’s director,said the initial class lost 25 pounds in six weeks as agroup. 65 percent of those children improved their mile runtime, while 70percent improved more than half of their performance measurements, whichinclude running and sit-ups.

“One13-year-old lost 12 pounds in six weeks without the support of anyone at home,”Berry said. “But he was able to grab ahold of his life and make adjustments.That’s exciting for me.”           

Kidsin Motion has had so much success with Kid Fit, that it is has now added FamilyFit, a program that allows parents to participate in the same activities withtheir children during the same 10 weeks.

“Theaccountability is much higher if mom and dad are here too,” Berry said. “Thekids not only do what they’re told but they see their parents and see theirstruggles. There is no better example they can have of health and wellness.”

The spring sessions of Kid Fit andFamily Fit will begin March 24. Anyone wanting to become a part of Kids inMotion can contact the program director, Jamie Berry, at (304) 697-7113 or via emailat kidsinmotion@huntingtonymca.org.

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