Boost Fitness, Pediatrics West To Help Fight Obesity In Area Youths
Pediatrics West, a private, independent pediatric practice based in Westford, received funding for HELP from Partners Community Healthcare, Inc.'s (PCHI) System Improvement Grant Program.
"Obesity has become an epidemic in America, affecting nearly one in four children," according to Mark Federico, owner of Boost Fitness. "By helping young people change their lifestyle, we believe we can help them avoid diabetes, heart disease and other major health problems that result from obesity."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on statistics for 2003-2006, 16.3% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese.
Boost Fitness recently opened at 139 Littleton Road, but also has fitness centers in Northboro and Hudson, and is planning a fourth club in Framingham.
The grant from Partners Healthcare will fund membership and personal training at Boost Fitness not only for qualifying youths, but for their families. Boost provided Pediatrics West with a significant discount to fund membership.
"We have tried to combine exercise with nutrition counseling in the past, but too many of the people we were trying to reach dropped out of the program because they had to pay for membership to a fitness club," according to Jessica Hennessey, RN CPNP, Director of Operations & Management at Pediatrics West. "By offering free membership, we are overcoming an important obstacle and can reach many more people."
HELP, which begins in mid-May, is currently seeking youths from three age groups to participate: third to fifth grade, sixth through eighth grade and high school. The elementary and middle school groups will have 10 children each and will focus on aerobic exercise. The high school students will be split by gender into groups of four and will exercise using both aerobics and fitness equipment. Depending on demand, more than one group may be formed for each age group.
Patients of Pediatrics West whose body mass index (BMI) puts them in the 95th percentile or higher will be eligible. BMI factors in a person's weight, height, age and gender. According to Hennessey, 1,400 of the clinic's 16,000 patients are potentially eligible.
HELP will incorporate healthy eating, exercise and education about good health, she said. After an initial assessment and physical exam, a special program will be developed for each family and goals will be set. The program will run for two years.
"Boost Fitness is committed to helping all of its members achieve a healthy lifestyle," Federico said, "but we especially appreciate the opportunity to work with young people and help them adopt a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is vital for people of all ages, but is especially important for young people who are battling with obesity."
About Partners Community Healthcare, Inc.
Partners Community Healthcare, Inc. of Boston is part of Partners HealthCare, Inc. (http://www.partners.org), which was founded in 1994 by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Partners is an integrated health care system that offers patients a continuum of coordinated high-quality care. The system includes primary care and specialty physicians, community hospitals, the two founding academic medical centers, specialty facilities, community health centers, and other health-related entities. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization.
About Pediatrics West
Pediatrics West (http://www.pediatricswest.com) of Westford is a private, independent pediatric practice dedicated to providing the highest quality primary care pediatric services from birth through adolescence. Pediatrics West has been offering pediatric care throughout the Merrimack Valley, Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire for over 30 years.
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