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Clark Memorial YMCA Announces "YouthFIT"
Program Aimed to Increase Physical Activity of Winchendon Youth

Monday - Friday
2:30 - 3:30 pm (ages 13 - 16)
3:30 - 4:30 pm (ages 10 - 12)

The Clark Memorial YMCA, The Winchendon Health Center and Winchendon Public Schools are partnering to promote new opportunities for youth to get active, made possible through a $50,000 grant provided by The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts.

The program, dubbed "YouthFIT," was developed to address the growing health concern of youth obesity. The YouthFIT program will target youth ages 10-16, identified as overweight or obese, and will incorporate individually tailored traditional and non-traditional physical activities, personal training, group instruction, and nutrition counseling and education available to the entire family. Additionally, the Clark YMCA will open a newly dedicated, supervised youth fitness area, to improve opportunities for all youth to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of exercise.

The causes of childhood obesity are eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity. Children today consume a significant amount of food low in nutritional value and high in calories, fat and sodium. Foods such as cookies, candy, sweetened juice drinks and carbonated soft drinks offer little to no nutritional value, and are high in calories. Currently nearly 40% (about 616) of Winchendon school children fall into the categories of overweight to obese.

"We are thrilled to have the ability to provide a program that will impact the health and well-being of the youth in our community well into the future. Providing the tools and information to help kids and families make healthy lifestyle decisions, while providing access to a variety of fitness opportunities typically not available, with participants receiving support within the school setting and with guidance from our local medical community is what makes this program special," stated Michael Quinn, Executive Director of the Clark YMCA.

"The Health Foundation strongly supports increased physical activity for youth as a way to address the significant issues of overweight and obesity that can lead to other serious chronic health problems and have negative effects on the overall quality of life, so we are pleased to make this grant to the Clark Memorial YMCA for the YouthFIT program," stated Dr. Jan Yost, President and CEO of The Health Foundation. "We are confident that this program will make a difference for youth in Winchendon."

YouthFIT program preparations are underway with the expectation of a December kick-off!

For more information, please contact Veronika Patty, Wellness, Community and Relations Director, at 978-297-0869.