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More Children Hiring Personal Trainers – Combating Childhood Obesity
More and more parents are hiring personal trainers to work with their children to help fight childhood obesity. Thousands of kids turning to professionals to get in shape. Last year, more than 1 million American youth used personal trainers to lose weight, improve their physical condition, or improve their athletic skills. Some statistics show that about 30% of children aged 6 to 11 are overweight while about 15% are obese. With PE classes on the decline, it’s no surprise that many parents are turning to personal trainers for help. If you’re looking for ways to get your kids more active, a personal trainer could be the perfect solution.
Personal Training for Children
One reason parents turn to personal trainers is to help their children excel in sports. Another important reason, of course, is to help manage weight problems. Whatever the reason, the decision to hire a personal trainer should be up to you and your child. One thing we know is that getting kids and teens to exercise can be difficult… forcing your child into a type of activity or exercise they don’t like can backfire and not everyone will like it. child to work with a personal trainer.
If your child is expressing interest in working with a tutor, you may wonder what a tutor can do for your child. A good coach can help her find activities she can enjoy while teaching her the right way to exercise for her age and goals. A trainer can also teach her how to lift weights, which has a number of benefits for children and teenagers including:
- More power
- Protection from injuries
- Better health
- Higher self-esteem and confidence
A trainer can help you determine what your child is capable of and teach your child how to exercise safely, effectively, and most importantly, how to have fun so those habits stick into adulthood.
Other reasons you may want your child to work with a tutor are:
- Special sports training. Athletes often need specialized training, and children who want to play sports may want or need help from a professional to strengthen their bodies, increase their strength and endurance, and protect them from injury.
- Instructions for exercise. You may feel at a loss if your child wants to exercise or lift weights and you’re not sure you have the know-how to show them what to do. If this is the case, the right personal trainer can help you create a good program that fits your child’s age, goals and fitness level.
- Dislike for organized sports or group fitness. Some children may not like typical PE or sports but still want to get fit. Working one-on-one with a trainer can be a safe environment for them to get fit and strong without feeling self-conscious.
According to the Max Fitness Academy in Sherman Oaks, California, kids under 18 accounted for 17 percent of the 6.3 million people who used trainers in 2006. Max Hany Mikhaiel, CEO of the Academy and founder of the nonprofit organization Drive Kids to Be Fit partly attributes the jump to parental concern about childhood obesity: The American Obesity Association estimates that about 30 percent of children ages 6 to 19 are overweight.
With cuts to physical education programs across the country, Max says many kids aren’t getting regular exercise at school unless they’re playing an organized sport. Drive Kids to be Fit was developed as a fun and effective way to teach kids good eating and exercise habits. The nonprofit is a community partner in the National Institutes of Health’s We Can! Program, a national initiative to reduce the number of overweight and obese children. “The goal is to reach every overweight child in the country,” says Max, “getting them involved in community activities…getting them out of the house and active.” The 15-week program is currently available at Max Fitness Academy and free to qualified low-income children ages 8 – 13, and will begin in several local schools this fall. Trainers and nutritionists from Max Fitness Academy will visit schools to teach 1½-hour classes on good eating habits, weight training and cardiovascular exercise.
So today’s parents see a personal trainer as a physical therapist who can help a struggling child get fit. Certified in teen and pre-teen fitness, trainers agree that self-esteem usually increases as a child’s body image improves. “When you’re strong, no matter what your age, you’re braver for everything else,” says Max. It defends parents who hire tutors for their children, equating the costs with those of other outside lessons such as dance or music.
These days, it seems everyone is talking about overweight and obesity and what to do about it. Why is it such a big deal? Because, as a Nation, we are consistently bored. The number of adults who are obese has increased dramatically, even in the last decade or so. And it’s not just a slightly larger waist that can come with middle age. It is the weight gain that harms our health. According to national data analyzed, an estimated 65 percent of Americans are now overweight or obese, and more than 61 million adults are obese. Adults aren’t the only ones who have gotten heavier. Children gain weight too. The percentage of children and adolescents who are overweight has more than doubled since the 1970s. About 16 percent of children and adolescents are overweight.
The downside of being overweight
People have many reasons to care if they are overweight, both in the short and long term. In the short term, when a child is overweight, it can be difficult to keep up with friends, play outside at recess, or wear the latest styles. Other kids at school can sometimes tease. Being overweight can be difficult for adults too. Clothes feel too tight, it’s not always easy to be active and one can get tired easily.
These extra pounds also have long-term consequences for both adults and children. Being overweight is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain cancers and other chronic conditions. Health experts are particularly concerned about the long-term consequences of being overweight in children. For example, type 2 diabetes was once rare in children. Now, it is estimated to account for 8 to 45 percent of newly diagnosed cases of childhood diabetes. Most cases of type 2 diabetes in children occur in overweight children. And overweight children are likely to become overweight or obese adults.
It’s one thing to think about the national obesity epidemic, but as a parent, what can you do about it? The two main ways to encourage and maintain a healthy weight and prevent excess weight are to make smart food choices and be physically active.
That’s what Max Fitness Academy is all about for kids getting fit — giving you tons of ideas that can help you and your family take action toward a healthy weight.
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