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TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – NMMC’s Tupelo Wellness Center is looking for families who want to change their lifestyles and help reduce childhood obesity in the process.

The pilot program is called Families in Transformation, or FIT. Fifteen families will be chosen and the goal is to help overweight children change their lifestyle and hopefully reverse a startling trend.

“This will actually be the first generation where the life expectancy for children will be less than their parents,” said NMMC Tupelo Wellness Center Director Philip Raper.

So children between the ages of 8 and 13, along with a parent or guardian, will meet three evenings a week at NMMC’s Wellness Center.

“Basically each time they come in they’re going to have some education, cardiovascular exercise and they’re going to have strength training also, along with nutritional counseling,” Raper said.

It’s all based on “Operation Fit Kids” an initiative of the American Council on Exercise. Each family will receive a curriculum, along with fitness and nutrition guidelines and lifestyle changes that can be followed at home.

“We are dedicating one of our days to a healthy cooking demonstration, so we’re going to get both parents and the kids in here together so they can see that it’s not just up to mom and dad, you’re also, between 8 and 13, you’re also of that age where you can get in there and also make a healthy snack as well,” said NMMC Registered Dietician Alice Anne Lee.

Healthy grocery shopping will also be covered and each family will be monitored throughout the process.

“At the very beginning of the program we will look at BMI, body fat, cardiovascular endurance, their strength , flexibility, how knowledgeable they are in nutrition and at the end we will see how they’ve progressed from that,” Raper said.

Families in Transformation is an eight week program so to help keep participants motivated, the Wellness Center will provide incentives, but perhaps the biggest incentive will be the overall better health participants will see as they learn about the benefits of regular exercise and better nutrition. In Tupelo I’m Allie Martin WCBI News.

There is a small fee for the FIT program. Deadline to apply is February 28th. For more information or to get an application, go to www.nmhs.net/tupelo_wellness_center.php or call 662 377 4147.

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