Waco family YMCA aims to help obese children stay healthy

Posted at 10:03 PM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 23:12:32-04

More than 12 million children struggle with obesity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Waco family YMCA is trying to help by offering a free program called MEND.

The Martinez family is one of many who have made some dramatic lifestyle changes in their household, all to promote healthier lifestyle choices.

Amber Martinez has two daughters, Alana,9, and Mariah, 11.  She said both have struggled with weight issues so they decided to seek help.

“It’s very difficult at times, it's not an easy thing to do but we have succeeded in certain areas", said Martinez.

When they found out about the free program at the Waco family YMCA, Mind, Exercise, Nutrition they decided to Do it (MEND).

Crystal Hernandez is the Chronic Disease Prevention Specialist at the YMCA. She says this program allows for all family members to practice healthy choices.

"We use hands-on activities that are really engaging to help the parents and the kids learn how to make healthier food choices become more physically active, work on goal setting", said Hernandez.

According to a Hillcrest pediatrician Vicki Popejoy she says obese children have a higher chance of developing illnesses including diabetes, high cholesterol, and sleeping problems just to name a few.

"Obesity can lead to the same health problems in kids as it does in adults," said Popejoy.

Through the MEND program, families learn how to prevent those from happening.

To qualify for this program children must be between 7 and 13 years old and be above their normal body weight.

For more information on how to sign up for the Mend program call 254-776-6612. 

Copyright 2016 KXXV. All rights reserved.