Kid-Fit starts today

Published 11:09 am Saturday, November 10, 2007

By Staff
Program opens to all children in January
Staff Writer
Fitness Unlimited of Washington is kicking off the first day of Project Kid-Fit today, a six-week fitness and nutrition program geared specifically for children and adolescents.
Mitzi Kukahiko, an East Carolina University School of Nursing student, initiated the project while working with children at the Washington Pediatrics’ Weight Reduction Clinic.
Children treated at the pediatric office who have a body-mass index greater than 95 percent for their age and height are referred to the clinic.
Children today are living in a different society, Kukahiko said. “We have busy parents grabbing fast foods and convenience foods that are easy to buy, but are high in fat and calories. Children are watching television and playing video games more than playing outside.”
As part of a school assignment, Kukahiko set out to create a fun program that would get children active.
Kukahiko approached Tara Carter, fitness director at Fitness Unlimited in Washington. The gym teamed up with Washington Pediatrics for a pilot program for children ages 8 to 13 enrolled in the Weight Reduction Clinic. The response was instant.
Carter and Dr. Tara Knott will be leading the six week classes, which are designed to teach young people about nutrition and the importance of physical activity.
The word “exercise” is not used to describe the Project Kid-Fit classes, Kukahiko said. “We call them movement classes.”
The classes will include activities such as hip hop dance, kick boxing, yoga and strength training. Nutritional information will be given to parents to take home. “We want to get the parents involved,” Kukahiko said.
Overweight children are at risk for diabetes and hypertension, Carter said. “This is about their life and wanting to improve it and feel good about themselves and go into adulthood as healthy individuals.”
Because of the overwhelming response to the trial project, Fitness Unlimited will incorporate fitness classes for children into their current programs beginning in January. These classes will be open to all children.
Parents can call Fitness Unlimited at 975-7400 to sign their child up for movement classes starting in January.