ACH Offers Free Programs to Reduce Childhood Obesity

BOARDMAN, Ohio — Akron Children’s Hospital is offering free programs intended to reduce childhood obesity in the Mahoning Valley such as the Fitness Lifestyle Challenge.

The challenge is a six-week program that promotes fitness and good eating habits, and safe, gradual weight loss.

In the Mahoning Valley, 38% of children are overweight or obese compared with 35% statewide, says Melody Case, wellness and youth fitness specialist at Akron Childen’s Hospital Mahoning Valley.

The Mahoning Valley Healthy Kids Coalition, led by Akron Children’s, seeks to reduce those numbers through two free fitness and nutrition programs: the Fitness Lifestyle Challenge for children 7 to 15 years old and “Fitness Fun” Storytimes for preschoolers.

The challenge incorporates fun, noncompetitive activities such as obstacle courses, jumping rope, relays, games, swimming and circuit training. A session with a nutritionist is included for parents.

Class dates and locations:

Sept. 14 – Oct. 23: Trumbull Family Fitness in Warren.

Sept. 15 – Oct. 22: The Mayor Ralph A. Infante Wellness Center in Niles.

Oct. 26 – Dec. 4: Youngstown Central YMCA.

Oct. 26-Dec. 4: Davis Family YMCA in Boardman.

For younger children, “Fitness Fun Storytimes” is a free program at public libraries in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. It helps children learn healthful habits in a fun and interactive setting with activities and prizes. After the sessions, health care specialists will be available to talk to parents and caregivers about nutrition and exercise for their children.

While the Fitness Lifestyle Challenge is free to students, registration is required. For more information and to register, visit

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