September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and while the dangers of childhood obesity are well chronicled, many families need support changing their families’ habits with the goal of overweight and obese children obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight. That’s why the Newport County YMCA’s Prescribe the Y program is changing lives, according to a press release issued by them on Wednsday.

The Prescribe the Y program at the Newport County YMCA is a comprehensive 12-week program focused on increasing physical activity and establishing good nutritional practices to maintain or decrease BMI for children ages 6-12 measured at a BMI greater than 85%. Two Wellness Coaches guide participants through one-hour classes in cardiovascular activity, strength training, and nutrition education. Parents attend designated family dinner nights with their children twice per session to support their efforts and learn how to incorporate healthy eating into family life.

The program works with Health Coaches using traditional exercise methods to ease participants into a fitness routine that is comfortable for them. Weekly meetings with wellness coaches and fitness professionals to establish and maintain healthier eating patterns and a more physically active lifestyle.

“The Y creates a supportive environment where children and their families can receive guidance, support, and the resources they need to develop lifelong healthy habits. At its core, Prescribe the Y focuses on the key components of the YMCA; healthy living, youth development and social responsibility. The Y is proud of our results and hope to help more participants in the future make healthy lifestyle habits,” Mike Miller, CEO, Newport County YMCA said in the press release..

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity has remained stable at about 17 percent and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents. Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers.

Prescribe the Y is generously funded by The Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund, The van Beurn Charitable Foundation and The Newport County YMCA. The program is free to those that meet the scholarship requirements and all children who complete the program will receive a FREE one-year YMCA family membership! To join the Prescribe the Y program, participants must obtain a referral letter or recommendation from Aquidneck Medical in Newport or Portsmouth.

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