Junior gyms in Grimsby and Cleethorpes to keep children in shape
MORE than a thousand schoolchildren across North East Lincolnshire are either overweight or obese, according to new figures released.
However, parents can today breathe a sigh of relief as two brand new state-of-the-art junior gyms for 8 to 15-year-olds, located in Cleethorpes Leisure Centre and Western Youth Centre in Grimsby, are hoping to tackle the issue.
Between September 2011 and September 2012, two sample year groups, 1,849 reception children and 1,608 Year Six pupils across the borough had their weight measured by a National Childhood Measurement Programme.
Of this, 501 children aged between four and five years old and 566 aged between 10 and 11 years, were over the healthy weight target – nearly a third of the 3,457 children.
A child's BMI is determined using an age and sex specific percentile.
Underweight covers anyone under the 2nd percentile
A healthy weight is seen as anyone between the third and 84th percentile
Overweight is at, or above, the 85th percentile, but lower than the 95th
Obese is anyone above the 95th percentile
Out of all the reception children measured during the last academic year, 10 were classed as underweight, 1,338 fell into the healthy weight category, 297 were overweight and 204 were obese.
For year six students, seven were underweight, 1,035 were healthy, 264 were overweight and 302 were obese.
As a way to get those unhealthy back into shape, North East Lincolnshire Council has spent £100,000 to create two new gyms.
All the equipment is tailor-made for youngsters – from mini-weight machines to exercise bikes – and there are only a handful like it across the whole of the UK and these are the first in North East Lincolnshire.
The facility at Cleethorpes Leisure Centre is now open to the public. The one at the Western site will open next month to existing young people's service groups, and to the public at certain times later on.
Zoe Burkill, of Cleethorpes, took a look round the venue in the resort before signing up her two sons.
She said: "William's 10 and Joe is 9. They have both wanted to come to a gym for a long time but are not old enough yet.
"I think this is wonderful and I am really impressed by it all.
"Children need to start thinking about their health from an early age and I think having these junior gyms will help give them a good start towards their future.
"A gym is also an alternative to football or swimming, which not every child is interested in.
"I also feel confident leaving my children here knowing they are in the safe hands of qualified instructors."
The junior gym in Cleethorpes has a variety of activities available, including dance mats, interactive boards, punch bags, exercise bikes, cross-trainers, a treadmill, and more.
Mia Porter, 10, of New Waltham, finds the junior gym a more exciting way to exercise.
She said: "I don't feel as though I am working out because it is so much fun.
"The cross-trainer machine is the best because I can feel my whole body stretching.
"I love all the interactive boards as well, as I can play on them with others I meet at the gym.
"I have told all my friends about it and they are going to start coming, too."
Cleethorpes Leisure Centre can be contacted on 01472 323200.