Entering adulthood overweight makes shedding those extra pounds even harder. That's why local gyms work not just with adults setting New Year's weight-loss resolution, but also with youngsters looking to get fit.
"I have a lot of folks wanting to be healthy," said Tammy Garner, who along with her husband, Tommy, owns the Anytime Fitness facilities in Columbia County and North Augusta. "Recently, I've had a lot of parents bringing in their teenage children."
Anytime Fitness, with locations on Columbia Road and Furys Ferry Road, opens its membership up to children as young as 14, with personal training and boot camps for children as young as 8.
At the Marshall Branch of the Family Y, in Evans, a program called Kids Clubhouse encourages youth fitness through fun, says Family Services Coordinator Donna Waite.
With programs called Dance Dance Revolution and Exerstation, children ages 5 to 12 use their bodies to play video games.
In Dance Dance Revolution, children follow video-displayed dance moves on a dance pad. Children become human joysticks in Exerstation, which uses full body machines, offering resistance, to move a player in a video game.
"We're trying to find ways to keep them active that aren't the typical treadmill exercises," she said. "We want to make fitness fun for them."
The Family Y also offers yoga and cardio classes designed for children ages 7 to 12, Waite said.
In recent years, combating childhood obesity has become a major focus in schools, which are providing more nutritious meals and snacks. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, children who enter adulthood obese are 70 percent more likely to remain overweight than those who are not obese when they enter their adult years.
"In addition, they are at greater risk for serious medical issues such as heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea and cancer," reads a statement on the Coalition's Web site.
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