Fighting Childhood Obesity
While writing a story about children's circuit training for our magazine, I interviewed the owner of KidsHealthClub.com, a health club for children in Homewood, IL. I suggested Vernard Allsberry as a speaker for the Club Industry show because of his experience running a successful children's health club and his passion for helping kids improve their health.
At 8:30 this morning, I attended Vern's session, which had a full house. He discussed the health, orthopedic and psychosocial effects of childhood obesity.
He and his wife, J. Diane Adams-Alsberry, are both in the physical therapy field and used their expertise to design a program for children. Vern said that while preschool programs such as Little Gym, My Gym and Gymboree have been around for quite some time, stand-alone centers for children and adolescents are just beginning.
"When children aren't 13 and can't go ino the gym with their parents, they're not going to go into the toddler room, so they'll stay at home," he said.
At home, kids nowadays are likely to eat unhealthy snacks and play video games, which can lead to childhood obesity or a weight problem.
In addition to working with obese kids, Vern also works with athletes who are looking to improve their performance. Today's kids need to be strong enough to participate in organized sports and prevent injuries, he says.
It's up to fitness professionals to make a difference, he says.
"There has to be a big push (to prevent childhood obesity)" he says. "The kids need it."