Recent studies have found that high blood pressure has been on the rise in American kids. High blood pressure in kids, like adults, can cause serious health risks such as heart disease, stroke, and sometimes even death. Children with high blood pressure have risen to 27 percent in just 13 years for children and adolescents ages 8 to 17!

This rise has been spurred by too much salt in their diet and too many extra pounds on their bodies. More than one third of American children and teens are overweight or obese according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, whom also states that high blood pressure in our children is directly linked to them being overweight. Now more than ever kids are sitting in front of television screens, videos, and electronics while eating foods that are high in calories.

This generation of children could be the first generation to die before their parents due to the obesity epidemic and the health related problems that come with obesity, including high blood pressure! The national obesity rate in children is 17% and 35.7% of the population in adults. The question then arises how do we combat the epidemic?

The YMCA of Van Wert County is aware of this problem and we are here to help! We offer many activities for all ages. The YMCA began a program last fall called KID FIT. This program is after school for 45 minutes and is designed to help kids ages 9-13 stay active and learn to embody a healthy lifestyle. KID FIT teaches age appropriate strength and conditioning activities with a fun game at the end. This program has seen a lot of success in athletes and weight loss alike.

Our cardio center, weight room, and fitness classes are also available for anyone over the age of thirteen. We also offer Youth Sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, flag football, t-ball and baseball to help keep kids active, teach teamwork, and life skills. Marlins Swim Team which is available for kids 6 and older and swimming lessons are also available for children 6 months old and up.

Getting involved in a facility that promotes healthy living is a great investment for your health. If you or your family is looking for the personal touch of fitness or having trouble getting started we have a great staff of personal trainers that can work with children and adults of any age. With the obesity epidemic growing and the blood pressure in children rising, it is imperative to take action in teaching our young kids how to grow up to lead a happy and healthy life. Here at the YMCA we will continue to live by our mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all people in our community. Whatever your needs we are happy to help you!