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Local Organizations Team Up To Battle Child Obesity

Statistics show that 12.5 million children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese.

In southeast Idaho, although childhood obesity isn’t all too common, it still exists. About 27 percent of Idahoans are considered obese.

It’s statistics like these that have the United Way of Idaho Falls and the Apple Athletic Club teaming up to lower that number. These two organizations have combined forces to help lower the wave of obesity that is specifically affecting lower- income children in Southeast Idaho.

With help from Moses Kinikini, a 2011 ?Biggest Loser? contestant, local children are being educated about the importance of eating healthier and exercising more.

“I realize that there’s a lot of things happening in the world as to why childhood obesity is getting worse and worse, and I look at it like we as parents need to step up and teach our kids.”

Kinikini said he has a special connection with children battling obesity, as he was obese child himself.

The two organizations are stepping up and have created a sponsorship program funding underprivileged families, giving them access to a gym.

“If we teach them how to live healthy, how to eat, exercise and get the right nutrition, then anything can happen,” Kinikini said.

Physical trainers say a growing child needs about 30 to 45 minutes of exercise a day and at Apple Athletic, children are getting that amount through a kid-friendly Zumba fitness class.

“It’s a hoot, and the kids are actually burning a lot of calories and having fun and that’s what it’s all about,? said Steve Vucovich, Apple Athletic general manager.

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