DeWitt: JCC challenges tweens, teens

It's all over the news: overweight or obese children, the perils of fast food, the lamenting cries of fitness experts who see more kids than ever before staying inside to play video games rather than exercise.

In a growing movement of exercise programs for teens, the Jewish Community Center in DeWitt this year has instituted its first Teen Transformation Challenge for pre-teens and teens entering seventh through 10th grades.

It is a six-week program that focuses not only on exercise but also on teaching participants how to live a healthier lifestyle, said Lori Innella Venne, director of Children and Teen Services for the JCC. This includes eating right, exercising and staying fit.

She said the program is ideal for teens who are looking to get in shape for a team sport, build muscle, lose weight, or just learn how to live healthier.

Venne said there were a number of reasons the JCC wanted to institute the Teen Transformation Challenge.

"Number one, there were very few programs available for kids in this age group, and we wanted to offer something new and different," Venne said.

Also, there were a number of teens in that age group who expressed the desire to work out or lose weight, but did not know how to use the equipment or know what would work best for them.

The program itself will focus on many different aspects, Venne said. Training will include the use of a personal trainer as well as group fitness classes, and specialized instruction on a sport if they are training for something specific. All participants will learn how to use the cardio machines as well as the weight training equipment.

Weekly, everyone in the program is evaluated based on Body Mass Index and calorie intake. Participants will also be journaling about the experience so that they can look back in the future if they have any questions, Venne said. They will also interact with a psychologist and a nutritionist.

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