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“Healthy Weight & Your Child” at the Upper Palmetto YMCA

by Elizabeth W. Duda

York County, SC (Oct. 8, 2018) The Healthy Weight and Your Child evidence-based program is coming to South Carolina, right here in York County! Eat Smart Move More York County members welcomed special guest speaker, Halie Patterson, Community Health Coordinator at the Upper Palmetto YMCA (UPYMCA), to our October membership meeting. Ms. Patterson described the UPYMCA’s planned rollout of the program.

Evidence shows that child weight-management programs are more effective when the family is involved and committed to adopting healthier habits.  This program focuses on healthy eating, physical activity, and behavior change to empower children, and families, to live healthier and active lifestyles. Studies have shown that the program is cost efficient and effective in reducing a child’s body  mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, reducing sedentary behaviors, increasing physical activity, and improving self-esteem. In the U.S., 15 YMCAs have rolled out this program; the UPYMCA will be the first in S.C.

This will be the third of the UPYMCA’s evidence-based programs, which also include LiveStrong at the YMCA and Diabetes Prevention. A participating child must be 7-13 years old, with a 95th percentile or higher BMI, be accompanied by their parent(s) or guardian, and able to attend a 25-session, 2-hour program. YMCA membership is not required.

What’s next in the Healthy Weight and Your Child program? The YMCA is heavily planning for the rollout. They are seeking referral sources (e.g., physicians or medical centers; or school nurses). And are recruiting qualified staff, with plans to offer rigorous in-person training. They are determining the program cost, but plan to have financial assistance available. And likely will offer a participation incentive (e.g., YMCA membership during the program). The location can be flexible and has not yet been determined, and they welcome your input.

Are you interested in learning more? Do you want your child to participate? Are you a medical professional or qualified person who wants to partner with the UPYMCA to make referrals to the program? Do you want to be a trainer? Contact Halie Patterson at haliepatterson@upymca.org.