Cooper Clinic Tackles Childhood Obesity

Igniting passion for fitness one child at a time

By Meredith Land
|  Tuesday, May 24, 2011  |  Updated 4:33 PM CDT
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Coaches for the IGNITE Program aim to make exercise programs active and mentally challenging. Most kids said they don't even realize they are exercising.

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The Cooper Clinic in Dallas is taking a stab at the childhood obesity epidemic by creating a program that aims to get kids active and fall in love with exercise.

The children aged eight to twelve learn agility, coordination, endurance, speed and strength through the IGNITE program.

"Some of the drills are advanced so then the coach enforces it with games so it seems easier after we play the game because we're all warmed up," said Sophie Kettles who is in the program.

Here's how the program works.

Once children master certain core skills, they move up levels marked by the color of their t-shirt.

I've learned how to move quicker, my agility has gotten much better than before (and) I've gotten faster," said Brandon Belanger who has advanced to level 9.

IGNITE's program director, Meredith Rossen, said child, no matter their athletic level, fits into the program, which promotes healthy relationships with fitness.

"It's for that all-star athlete that competes every single weekend and trains every single day, all the way to the child that maybe doesn't enjoy a team sport who really is looking for a way to stay active," explained Rossen.

Coaches for the IGNITE Program aim to make exercise programs active and mentally challenging. Most kids said they don't even realize they are exercising.

"I like that we play games for the first 30 minutes. It feels like it's only five minutes when it's an hour. It's just really fun," said Kettles.

The IGNITE Program makes exercise fun so that kids enjoy working out, which is one way to ensure they will continue exercising as adults.

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