Ottumwa YMCA fighting childhood obesity

In an effort to get rid of childhood obesity, the Ottumwa YMCA offers a free Lifetime and Wellness Program for children ages six to 17 that are in the 90th percentile in their age and weight chart.

The 12-week free program offers two to three sessions a week of personal training, as well as a weekly meeting with a dietician.

The program has been successful for many children.

â??We have, we've had some really great success stories, kids losing up to 15 pounds while they are with us for the 12 weeks. We also have a lot of kids that don't necessarily lose a lot of weight but they'll lose body fat and inches in their body, which is also really great. And they're just learning how to live healthier,â?? said Courtney Wares, Fitness and Aquatics Coordinator.

Wares said she not only sees a difference in the kids physically but also mentally as they become more confident with themselves. The program is designed to get kids moving and having fun, all while working out.

The kids look forward to their sessions with their trainer, or their â??personal cheerleader.â??

â??Jacob is so fun to work out with. He has a smile on his face. Heâ??s always ready to do anything I ask of him. We have a lot of fun. We do some competitions sometimes. I usually workout with him; he's a lot of fun,â?? said Wares of 10-year-old Jacob.

The Lifetime Wellness Program is funded by the Wapello County United Way, which allows the program to be free for the participants.