A good fit: Kids learn about diet, exercise | PostIndependent.com

A good fit: Kids learn about diet, exercise

Post Independent Photo / Kara K. Pearson Nicholas Hunsaker, 9, purses his lips as he does the last few seconds worth of crunches while circuit training at the Fit Kids class at River Valley Ranch Thursday. The class helps children become interested in excerising and health.

Fast food, sugar, television, video games and even computers are contributing to a surge in obese children.One in five children is overweight, and almost half of all children ages 8-16 watch three to five hours of television a day, according to the National Institutes of Health.”This is the general trend in the country, but we’re lucky in the valley,” said Christi Small, a exercise physiologist at River Valley Ranch. “People here tend to be more outdoor oriented.”

Small and Tammy Cassetty, who works as a physical therapist at River Valley Ranch, started a “Fit Kids” class in September to get kids interested in health and fitness.Every Thursday Small and Cassetty teach a crowd of 12-13 youngsters about their bodies, how they function and what they need to stay healthy and strong.At the beginning of class Cassetty and Small give the kids a snack and discuss the nutritional benefits of the food.Eating wheat crackers, hummus and a fruit salad, the kids talked about protein, sugar and carbohydrates.Even though protein has nutritional value, it often comes with a lot of fat, Small said.

Small asked the kids to list reasons humans need to eat fat.”If you’re out somewhere starving to death it keeps you alive,” said Nicholas Hunsaker, 9.At the beginning of class the kids sing a song that teaches them the proper names for pecs, gluteus and obliques.Each week Cassetty and Small focus on one muscle group. By December, all of the students will know where their main muscle groups are and what they can do to work those muscles.

Thursday’s rainy weather forced the group to stay inside so they did what many parents do while working out: Circuit training.”She’s working out over here,” said Rhianna Borderick, 7, of her circuit training partner. “She’s panting.”Cassetty and Small go from station to station showing the kids how to do the work and which muscles should be working.Though no specific guidelines outline how much exercise a child could get, Cassetty and Small recommend at least thirty minutes a day.”It’s better to spend your spare time at the park than being a couch potato and getting fat,” said Mackenzie Small.

Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. 534ivogel@postindependent.comFor more information about the class please call 963-6300.

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