A Gastonia gym has a plan and a passion to fight childhood obesity by helping children develop healthy eating habits and creating a regular exercise program.
Optimum Result Fitness partnered with Kintegra Health and other community resources like R.A.M.S. Kitchen to create a multidisciplinary health program for kids called Fit Squad.
“We got the idea after talking to Dr. Shirley Ocloo (Kintegra Health) about passion projects,” said trainer Trey Miles. “We thought this would be a great opportunity to help teach the kids some fundamental goals.”
The program involves kids under the age of 18 meeting every Thursday with fitness trainers, nutritionists and behavioral specialists to help teach the children healthy exercises and eating habits.
The meetings last for a couple hours where the kids workout for an hour, eat healthy snacks provided by R.A.M.S. Kitchen and meet with a health specialist to learn healthy habits.
This past week, the kids learned about emotional eating.
“We’re educating them on nutrition and giving them goals each week to help their eating and behavioral health,” said Miles.
Kia Wiggins, a therapist and Kintegra Health representative for the program, says that understanding behavioral health helps youth understand why they overeat and choose certain snacks.
The kids have practiced cardio boxing, body weight exercises, learned how to make healthy snacks from R.A.M.S. Kitchen and more.
Some of the snacks include ‘apple nachos’ made with apple slices, yogurt and Nutella.
“We really want to help make changes for the kids so help them eat healthier,” said Elvira Hoke, another Kintegra representative. “Some of these issues can be generational which is why we want the kids to learn what healthy snacks are.”
The sessions last for 18 weeks in six-week stints with breaks in between. The current class started five weeks ago and includes four kids between the ages 10 and 13.
The kids are referred to the program through their pediatricians.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing their progress,” said Miles. “They come in more confident and they socialize a lot more since first starting.”
Miles and the rest of the Fit Squad hope to continue growing the team to help more kids learn about healthy nutrition and exercise practices.
“I really enjoy seeing them make progress every week,” said Miles.
The gym facility, located at 3372 Robinwood Road, takes the space where the former Armstrong Athletic Club was located.
The gym opened in February 2020 with a mission to help members reach their personal goals with many approaches and resources.
Reach Janiya Winchester at 980-319-6819 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: Gastonia gym fights childhood obesity with health program for kids