Childhood Obesity is a growing problem in the United States. More than one third of children and teenagers ages two to 19 are obese or overweight, and that rate has tripled in the past 30 years. Childhood Obesity can have a harmful effect on the body in several ways, putting children at high risk to develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, joint problems, heartburn, and social and psychological problems.
Obesity is directly connected to a critical social issue affecting our communities: high rates of chronic disease. To remedy this serious issue, The South Shore YMCA and Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. have teamed up to deliver a new, nationally vetted childhood obesity prevention program known as "Healthy Weight &Your Child" in Chinese languages for youths in Quincy and its neighboring communities beginning this fall. The program will be funded by a $25,000 grant received from the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America.
"We are proud to have been selected by the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America for this generous grant," said Paul Gorman, President and CEO of the South Shore YMCA. "With their support, and alongside our partners at QARI, we will be able to reach more families across Quincy and its neighboring communities in an effort to educate children and their families on positive changes and effective steps that can be taken in the fight against childhood obesity."
The program, which offers a platform to make healthy lifestyle changes, includes both educational and physical aspects in order to share a variety of learnings that participants can implemented in their day-to-day lives.
"The Massachusetts Beverage Association is proud to partner with the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America, the South Shore YMCA, and Quincy Asian Resource Institute to help promote healthy lifestyle lessons to our young people," said Steve Boksanski, Partner, Shanley Fleming and Associates. "The Germantown Neighborhood Center is a vibrant and thriving community organization that is doing amazing work and an absolutely perfect candidate for this type of grant that is designed to help children learn and remember good nutritional and physical fitness habits while having fun."
With this grant, the SSYMCA and QARI will enroll and engage 90 to 100 youths in the program, potentially reaching just as many families.
"Offering programs like Healthy Weight & Your Child in languages other than English shows that the South Shore YMCA truly cares about the minority and Asian communities," said Philip Chong,CEO, Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. "This grant will increase access to unique programming and opportunities and will also allow us to emphasize the importance of health and wellbeing by providing these teachings to different generations including youths and their parents and families. It's a very exciting opportunity, and we're looking forward to strengthening our pre-existing partnership with the SSYMCA through this program."
Through Healthy Weight & Your Child, children from 7 to 13 years of age carrying excess weight, greater or equal to 95th BMI (body mass index) percentile, will participate in nutrition and exercise programs with the clearance of their health care providers, with parents encouraged to attend sessions with their children. The program aims to reduce childhood obesity while creating a healthier future for our children by teaching families the importance of healthy eating and exercise.
"Childhood obesity prevention remains a critical issue in our community, especially among Asian Americans who are at higher risk of certain health issues - such as diabetes - at lower BMI levels than the average population," said State Representative Tackey Chan. "I am thrilled that the South Shore YMCA and Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. are partnering together to encourage Chinese youth in Quincy to lead healthier lives, with the generous help of the American Beverage Foundation. Healthy eating and an active lifestyle are essential for our and our children's long-term wellbeing and I applaud these organizations' dedication to making healthier choices a more accessible and equitable reality for every family in our community."
About the South Shore YMCA
The South Shore YMCAis a charity serving the communities of Quincy, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Braintree, Milton, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hanover and beyond. Financial Assistance is a Y community benefit available to all families in need, applicable to all Y programs and services. To learn more about the South Shore YMCA, visit www.ssymca.org.
About the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America
The American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America seeks to make a significant contribution to the health of local communities by providing grants to support charitable programs at community organizations that work to advance both the physical health of their local citizens and the environmental health of their communities. To learn more, visit http://www.beveragefoundation.org/.
Founded in 2001, QARI is the go-to center for Asian residents in Quincy. QARI's mission is tofoster and improve the social, cultural, economic and civic lives of Asian Americans and theirfamilies to benefit Quincy and its neighboring communities. Through collaborations andpartnerships, we provide culturally competent services including adult education programs,youth development, and cultural events as well as information and referrals to public and othercommunity organizations. To learn more, visit https://quincyasianresources.org/.