Today, I took my 12 year old son to GoodLife Fitness to register him in their Summer Teen Program.(Link Here.) In Canada, GoodLife Fitness is a national chain of gyms along the lines of a Bally's, Gold's Gym etc.
I take a small amount of pride that they had their beginnings in the town I live in; London, Ontario.
For the last several years, they have been running a program for youth ages 12-17 that gives them a free summer membership.
I was hesitant at first that there would be catches or severe restrictions on the program, but surprisingly not.
My son was required to attend an initial group orientation session to get acquainted with the club, use of equipment and machines. He was guided through a 1/2 hour weight session, and a 1/2 hour cardio session, and then given a membership card for future visits. That's it.
There was NO hard sell to me, the parent, to join. There was NO requirement for my son to join following the summer. His hours are minimally restricted, from 08:00 am to 04:00 pm, but beyond that, he has essentially full access to the club. I was pleasantly surprised.
Childhood Obesity Stats
- 1 in 3 kids are obese or overweight prior to their 5th birthday (2009 Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System)
- 17% of kids aged 2-19 are classified as obese (2009 U.S. Data). That's 12.5 million kids!
- Obesity rates have TRIPLED since 1980
What to do?
Great question - with no good answer. As parents, we can certainly try our best to set healthy, active examples.
Companies like GoodLife Fitness and Disney (Cutting Junk Food Ads) are setting a good example that others should take note of.
What suggestions do you have for helping the youth of today?