Healthy Weight and Your Child

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By West Cook YMCA

As part of its focus on healthy youth development, the West Cook YMCA is proud to offer Healthy Weight and Your Child, a family-based lifestyle modification program. The twenty-five session program is a childhood obesity prevention and weight management program which focuses on instilling healthy habits to last a lifetime.

Chronic Disease Program Coordinator, Jenny Kraak notes that with Healthy Weight and Your Child programming, the West Cook YMCA is participating in the YMCA of the USA program that is working to build healthy families across the nation. "It's an evidenced-based program that incorporates physical activity with a discussion component."

In order to qualify for the program, children must be between the ages of 7 and 13 and with a body mass index in the 95th percentile or higher. Youth participants must receive permission from a health care provider or school nurse to participate, and adult participation is required.

Kraak notes that the 25 session program begins with 10 weeks of meeting two times per week, with each session focused on a particular topic. During the two hour meetings, parents and children meet for one hour with a facilitator. Parents continue to meet with the facilitator for an additional 30 minutes while children are led in games and activities. For the final 30 minutes parents and children join in family games geared towards incorporating activity into everyday life and fun. For the final five weeks of the program, participants meet once weekly for two hours.

"What this does is build relationships between the youth and the family. The families really come together; it's a very supportive environment," Kraak says of the program.

Each week, Healthy Weight and Your Child covers a new topic. Within each session, facilitators cover day-to-day decisions including food label reading, grocery shopping, portion control, healthy eating and physical activity. Whether the week's topic is nutritional information, goal setting, food groups, or moving, Kraak emphasizes that the program moves slowly over a long period of time to facilitate the families learning how to make choices for themselves.

Now in its second season, Healthy Weight and Your Child offers classes at both the West Cook YMCA sponsored by PCC Community Wellness and at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park through a partnership with Loyola University Health System. The West Cook YMCA is also exploring other partnerships to increase accessibility throughout the community. At the end of the program, Kraak says that families and children are better equipped to move forward in a healthier direction. "Families are getting the information they need, and then they can make the choices for themselves that will lead to a healthier future."

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad

Latest Comments