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Childhood Obesity Rates Improve For Ages 2-5
February 28, 2014

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox The scales are tipping in the right direction, at least that is what recent Centers for Disease Control statistics show for childhood obesity rates in very young children.

The CDC said this week that between 2003-04 and 2011-2012, the obesity rates in 2 to 5-year-old children decreased by 43 percent, from 14 percent to just over 8 percent.

"I think that 2 to 5-year-old range is really beginning to develop habits and they're kind of getting set into their ways, so obviously the earlier the jump start you can get on it the better," said Jamie Berry, YMCA health and wellness director.

While it hasn't pinpointed precise reasons, the CDC cites decreased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, improved breastfeeding rates and improved nutrition and physical activity standards at day-care centers. At Kiwanis Day Care in Huntington, the staff has gotten creative this winter.

"A lot of dancing, the kids love music, we expose them to all different types of music," Brenda Sutphin said. "They're getting exposed to yoga, all kinds of different exercise techniques inside the classroom."

Berry also runs a program that's helping 5 to 14-year-olds and their families fight obesity at the Phil Cline YMCA in Huntington, where Kids in Motion uses video-game like equipment as tools.

""Obviously, that serves as a very good visual appeal for the kids. It's very attractive to them, and we incorporate it as much as possible," Berry said.

One of the programs at Kids in Motion is Kid Fit. It's a 12-week program to keep kids moving and having fun, but they also learn about nutrition. They are also now implementing programs that get the whole family involved in working out together.

The programs are always evolving.

"We're not going to be redundant. We're not going to do the same thing all the time, but we are going to exercise and it is going to be difficult," Berry said.

As a mentor and also a dad of an active 2 and 3-year-old, Berry said it's important to lead by example.

"We try to be intentional that every day it's warm, that we get out and walk the dog, or we go to the park or to a playground, or something, so that they understand that when it's nice, you need to get out and be doing something," he said.

If you want to get involved with the Kids In Motion program, call 304-697-7113.

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