As Childhood Obesity Concerns Grow, More And More Tots Hit The Gym
They're not out of diapers yet, but they're already hitting the gym. With growing concerns about childhood obesity, more parents are starting to look for new fitness alternatives for their kids early-on. NY1's Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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From crawling to swinging, these little ones may not look like your typical gym rats, but it turns out they're actually part of a growing trend. My Gym, a newly-opened franchise operation in the Tottenville section of Staten Island is just one of many to sprout up lately in the area with plans to expand.
"We're going to open up another one [on Staten Island] and another one in Brooklyn. Manhattan is up and running, and also another franchise is opening up in Queens," says co-owner Lisa Miskanic. "So, the New York Area is getting flooded with them."
Special fitness programs for kids have been around for decades. But according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, demand seems to be increasing steadily, with the under-18 set the second-fastest growing health club demographic across the country.
And they're starting from earlier-and-earlier ages. At My Gym for example, with parental involvement, the classes start as young as 3 months-old, going up to age 13.
"We do a range of activities from non-competitive gymnastics, so it's basic tumbling, agility, hanging, balancing," says instructor Danielle Prologo. "We do songs and dances with the younger ones and as they get older, it's more of a relay and a game."
The parents involved say they see a huge benefit in getting their children active as early as possible.
"I'm a teacher, and I see a lot of children who come to school who have problems with obesity. So I want my child to be healthy and this is the perfect thing," says mom Michelle Gabbe. "She absolutely loves it."
The parents and instructors say the one thing that's great about this is that it's not only physical activity their kids are getting, but they're also developing cognitive and social skills from an early age as well.
"They are developing social skills, for those parents that don't have the right age groups for their children to play with," says Miskanic. "And we find that it's very important for them to have that exposure for them to build up, for when they go to school, they're prepared for it as well.
And from the looks of it, seems like these tots are well on their way.
- Kafi Drexel