One Child at a Time

Youth obesity has become the epidemic of note throughout society. Countless governmental bodies, independent organizations and mainstream media outlets are constantly revealing statistics and projections related to this problem. According to several sources, the youth overweight/obesity numbers exceed 30 percent of people under the age of 18 in the United States and are expected to rise toward the 50 percent mark by 2012.

What we need is an action plan that will help kids and families rid themselves of the burden that has virtually crippled our youngest generation and even led to a vernacular shift in medial terminology. For example, Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as “Adult Onset” until it became a common illness diagnosed in thousands of children due to their overweight concerns. Maybe more importantly, however, we must peel back the layers and ascertain what the true cause for concern is with this topic. Is obesity really the problem, or is it the symptom of a greater matter?

The obesity factor is nothing more than a bodily response to an inappropriate lifestyle devoid of activity. Obesity is not the problem – inactivity is. And while this perspective change may seem insignificant, I can assure you that in order to truly find success when working with a client, your No. 1 goal must be to find the root of the problem.

Moreover, contemporary youth fitness programs are widely considered unsuccessful because of their lack of attention toward the actual problem and creating its corresponding solution. By not addressing the mental, emotional and lifestyle realities that brought our clients to this place to begin with, we are almost guaranteeing that they will fall off the wagon and eventually revert back to the lifestyle actions that brought us to them in the first place. This is a tragic revolving door scenario with adults. It is virtual child abuse with kids. Kids are too inactive on a daily basis. Increase daily activity and you will have solved the problem from its core in one fell swoop. In order to make that happen, you must create daily fitness activities that are both developmentally sound and fun for kids. “Fun” and “developmentally sound” are operative points in this equation. Children are not little adults, and the exercise requirements they have are vastly different than those of grown-ups.

Additionally, the fun factor is something that we simply must embrace. Children are not naïve nor are they mentally incapable of understanding what it is they enjoy. When kids have fun, they want to do it again. It can’t get more basic than that.

This is the core concept of our Motion Evolution program. Getting kids to have a “fun-out” as opposed to a work out and getting kids to “play” fitness. There are so many very talented and athletic kids that frequent Gymfinity and we start to take them for granted. We start to believe that these kids probably represent the “average” child and nothing is further from the truth. There are many children out there who have no activity. In fact I met a child a while ago who wasn’t sure how to run, because she had never done it. We have the children with talent, the true athletes, the children who will, without a doubt, grow up to be fit adults. We need those other children. Those kids who might be intimidated by moving. We also need those kids in between. I spoke to a mom today about registering her Football/Soccer son for fitness again because it “kicked his butt.” Gymfinity has the ability to challenge individuals at their own level and act in a way that can change the world, one child at a time.

*part of this post was originally published by 3rd Level Consulting. It was reprinted in a Gymfinity Staff Newsletter. 

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