Fighting The Epidemic of Childhood Obesity: New Children’s Fitness Program On Saturdays At Queens College — State-or-the-Art Facilities, certified Trainers and Nutritional Guidance Give Children a Head Start on a Healthy Lifestyle; February-May Classes Are Open

The statistics are sobering: A 2005 Center for Disease Control (CDC) survey found that among New York high school students, 11% are overweight and 17% are at risk for becoming overweight, while 78% did not meet recommended levels of physical activity. The percentage of overweight children aged six to 11 more than doubled in the past 20 years and the rate among adolescents aged 12 to 19 more than tripled. The CDC’s recommendations are clear: Increased physical activity and better diets are essential in helping children combat the risk of obesity.

To address the problem on a local level, Queens College Fitness Center Director Robert Twible developed the Head Start Children’s Fitness Program. “I knew our state-of the art fitness center and highly trained staff could make a difference for the children in the community,” said Twible. “So far, the response has been strong and the feedback extremely positive.” The new program is designed to provide children, aged 5 to 16, with a head start on a healthy lifestyle.

Staffed by a team of certified personal trainers who work in the college’s new fitness center in the FitzGerald Gym, Head Start guides children through the fundamentals of exercise and nutrition. Grouped according to age, they take part in weight training; aerobics, including treadmill, spin bike, sprint and obstacle course work; stretching and plyometrics, a reflexive form of power training; and indoor games. Children receive take-home exercises and nutritional and activity logs to chart their progress outside of class. The program strives to provide both the tools for developing a healthy lifestyle and the confidence to maintain it into adulthood.

Head Start classes will be held on Saturday mornings from February through May 2008. The cost is $99 for an eight-week session. For more information, call the Queens College Fitness Center at (718) 997-2740 or email Robert Twible at

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Contact: Phyllis Cohen Stevens
Deputy Director of News Services

Maria Matteo
News Assistant