HOUSTON – Staying fit is of utmost importance in the Greater Houston area, as one in three children in Texas is either overweight or obese, and evidence shows that these children have greater than a two-thirds chance of remaining obese at age 35.
The consequences? Childhood obesity is associated with increased absences and lower grades and stigma, which can diminish self-confidence and result in lowered goals and performance.
Wanting children to start the school year right, the YMCA of Greater Houston will offer a FREE Sports Sampler Weekend on Aug. 19-20 to encourage all children to be physically active. Children ages 5 to 12 can participate in up to three, 45-minute clinics including baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and NFL flag football and sample what the YMCA has to offer this fall.
The YMCA also will offer free Tiny Tots soccer clinics for children 3 to 4 years old.
“It has been shown that children who participate in team sports have a sense of belonging, are one-tenth as likely to be obese than children who do not exercise, achieve up to 40 percent higher test scores, are 15 percent more likely to go to college, and have a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes as they get older,” said Matt Thompson, district executive director over Youth Sports for the YMCA of Greater Houston, citing statistics from the Aspen Institute and the YMCA of the USA.
All YMCAs in the Greater Houston area are participating in the FREE Sports Sampler Weekend. The types of clinics and their times will vary, so parents are encouraged to go on-line at www.ymcahouston.org or visit their closest Y to register their children and secure a spot. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available.
Those who participate will receive a 25 percent discount off fall youth sports programs.
“As parents prepare their children to go back to school, we strongly encourage them to focus on their children’s physical well-being as well as academics,” said Paul McEntire, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston. “We want our kids to be healthy in mind, body and spirit, and we know that team sports play a role in all of those areas.”
Parents who sign up for the FREE Sports Sampler Weekend can receive guidance by YMCA coaches on which sports might be best suited for their children as well as information on the benefits each sport can offer.
For more information on the Aug. 19-20 FREE Sports Sampler Weekend, please visit www.ymcahouston.org or your nearest YMCA.