Kids in Motion
helping to reduce childhood obesity

A community partnership that includes the Huntington YMCA, Hoops Family Children's Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and Cabell County Schools sponsors Kids in Motion, a fun and innovative exercise and nutrition program designed to improve the health of Tri-State area children.

At the heart of Kids in Motion are Kid Fit and Family Fit. Kid Fit is a 12-week program to get kids ages 5-17 moving and having fun, while learning about fitness and nutrition. Family Fit allows parents to participate in the activities with their children. Weight, body mass index and body fat percentage are tracked throughout the program to measure progress and to customize the program for each participant.

During the program, participants use exergaming equipment that combines video games and exercise. Some of the activities include iDance, which is similar to the popular Dance Dance Revolution game, and the T-wall, where players try to quickly touch surfaces as they light up in various sequences. For each activity, participants try to compete with each other, as well as their previous scores, in order to continue improving.    

“It has to be interesting and fun for kids to stay involved,” George Smailes, executive director of the Huntington YMCA, said. “The kids get so caught up in these games that they don’t even realize the impact it’s having on their health. That’s what we want— for them to be active without even thinking about exercise.”  

Kids in Motion is not just about fun and games. Participants and their parents or guardians receive nutrition education through activities such as cooking classes at Huntington’s Kitchen and Nutrition Nights, when dietitians offer recipe and food preparation advice and explain how to keep a food diary.. Another major focus of the program is providing opportunities for the children to improve their self-esteem.  

 A 12-week session of Kid Fit costs $50 for YMCA members and $75 for non-members, which includes a one-year Phil Cline YMCA Youth Membership. Kids in Motion works to provide scholarship opportunities to as many youth as possible. Participants are referred to the program by nurses and physical education teachers in Cabell County Schools, as well as physicians and parents.

Area businesses such as Dutch Miller Chevrolet and FoodFair support Kids in Motion, which is also a funded partner of the United Way of the River Cities. The program welcomes people, corporate sponsors and organizations that would like to get involved.

“This project is a true community collaboration to improve the health and well-being of Tri-State children,” said Dan O’Hanlon, president of the YMCA board. “This is about doing what’s important for the future of our kids.”

 Find out more about Kids in Motion at 304.697.7113 or kidsinmotion@huntingtonymca.org.