When 12-year-old Sebastian White puts on his hiking shoes or rock climbing harness, he no longer worries whether he is too out of shape or unhealthy. Now, he simply enjoys how fun being active and healthy can be. Working with Fit Kids of Arizona has helped Sebastian and his family eat healthy and stay active - everyday.
“I remember how much I wanted to play football, but because I was so out of shape and larger than the other kids my age, I had to play in the league with older kids; it was a real bummer,” Sebastian said. “When I first started trying to get healthier, I was worried I couldn’t do it, but the people at Fit Kids really helped me. They encouraged me to do some kind of activity everyday and to eat good food and to be healthy. They never told me I had to lose weight.”
The White family - four boys and two very busy parents - didn’t necessarily eat poorly, but they did have high-carb, high-fat snacks around for the kids. With their busy lives it was hard to monitor what the kids were snacking on, especially Sebastian since he had a very sweet tooth. Sebastian, like many other kids, was on his way to not only being overweight, but possibly to more severe health problems.
“Our mission is to improve the health of children by promoting healthy lifestyles,” said Rich Henn, B.S.N., Fit Kids of Arizona director. “National statistics show approximately three out of 10 elementary-age kids are overweight or obese, or are at risk of being overweight, which can lead to more serious health conditions.”
A recent review of Fit Kids participants revealed of those who have visited Fit Kids at least twice, many have seen improved health benefits such as reductions in their cholesterol levels, blood glucose and blood pressure. More than 60 percent have had a positive change in their Body Mass Index (BMI) or weight.
As for Sebastian, his dedication to eating well and physical activity has reduced his high cholesterol and BMI to healthy levels. He has become an inspiration to members and staff at the YMCA and to his friends and family.
“I am having so much fun doing different things; I just want everyone to join me. I want to go to the gym or hike or something every day, and I refuse to eat fast food or snack on fatty foods. I want to be able to give my all when I play football next season. Fit Kids helped me turn my life around.”