YMCA, hospital joint program targets childhood obesity
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Jennifer Veneklasen of the Clallam County YMCA will help conduct a program that will promote healthy lifestyles for families with children through exercise and proper diet.

Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — The Olympic Peninsula YMCA and Olympic Medical Center are teaming up to pilot a free healthy lifestyles program for families with children aged 8 to 11 who are overweight.

The Actively Changing Together, or ACT!, program was developed in 2004 by the YMCA of Greater Seattle and Seattle Children's Hospital to help families make changes in activity and eating to benefit long-term health.

YMCA staff and an OMC dietitian have been trained in the program and will launch it in Port Angeles on
Sept. 23.

“With an estimated 1-in-3 children overweight or obese in the United States, we believe it's crucial that kids and their families work together to change the behaviors and attitudes fueling this epidemic,” said Jennifer Veneklasen, YMCA healthy lifestyles director.

“Overweight children are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They're also more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and depression.”

The 12-week program will run through Dec. 16.

Sessions will be held Mondays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Each session will include a light meal.

The ACT! program, which has been successful in other parts of the state, coaches overweight kids and their families to incorporate better nutrition and exercise into their daily lives, Veneklasen said.

“Families play energizing games in a fun, supportive and interactive environment,” she added.

Parents participate in a wellness group and learn about nutrition from OMC dietitian Sarah Bailey.

A free YMCA membership is included for the duration of the program.

Eligible youths must have a body mass index greater than the 85th percentile for their ages.

A referral from a health care provider is required.

Referral forms are available at the YMCA, 302 S. Francis St., and from medical providers.

Completed referral forms can be mailed or faxed to the YMCA at 360-452-7140.

For more information, contact Veneklasen at 360-452-9244 or Jennifer@olympicpeninsulaymca.org.

Last modified: August 25. 2013 6:19PM
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