Karla News

Personal Trainers for Kids on the Increase

Personal Fitness, Personal Trainers

American kids are increasingly being tuned in and turned over to personal fitness trainers to help them hone sports skills, lose weight and get healthy. A growing number of American kids and their parents are seeking out professional fitness specialists, whether that be at local YMCA community centers or upscale health and fitness clubs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children ages 6 to 11 who are overweight increased from 7 percent in the mid-1970s to almost 19 percent in 2004. For those between the ages of 12 and 19, the prevalence of being overweight increased from 5 percent to more than 17 percent, during this same time period. With childhood obesity so clearly on the rise, an increasing number of parents are willing to pay to have a professional trainer work with their children as a means of curbing their kids’ poor eating and fitness habits and assisting with positive motivation and support in just living more active and healthier lifestyles.

The American Medical Association is following the lead of U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, MD, who calls obesity the greatest threat to public health today. As for children, he said, obesity is causing problems now that were unthinkable as recently as 20 years ago. The AMA website says that at the last meeting of the AMA Working Group on Managing Childhood Obesity held in Chicago, the goal was to develop strategies to help doctors work more effectively with families, youth organizations, schools, public health agencies and community groups to address obesity in children.

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Not all parents hire personal trainers because their children are overweight, however. Some want to give their kids a competitive edge in sports. Others simply want their children to become more physically fit and bolster their child’s dipping self-confidence. Still others believe that working with a personal trainer helps motivate their kids in a way a parent can’t. And for some children with special needs or those who have impaired social and communication skills, exercising in groups is not a positive arrangement. In those cases, one-on-one interaction is much more effective.

Mark Davis, a Davenport, Iowa, teen has been using a physical trainer for about 16 months. He believes, as does his father Lyle, that he’s become faster and stronger, which earned him a place on the varsity track and field team last year. Both agree that being in better physical shape also reduces the chances of injury during competition.

Regardless of the reason for the increase in children being under the guidance of personal fitness specialists, hiring a personal trainer or fitness expert isn’t cheap. For example, the cost of one 30-minute personal training session at the YMCA at Metropolitan Minneapolis is $40; the cost for 60 minutes is $60.

However, for those who can’t afford the price of individual sessions with a personal trainer or nutritional coach, most facilities offer group rates and youth programs for weight loss, performance training and nutritional education and support.


CDC; http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/

AMA; http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/11759.html

YMCA; http://www.ymcatwincities.org/programs/personal-training.asp