Program offers way for families to get fit together - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Program offers way for families to get fit together

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A new program being offered at the University of South Carolina is giving families a way to get fit together.

DHEC numbers show almost one in every three South Carolina high school students are overweight or obese.

And if you're an African American adolescent, your chances of being obese are even higher.
 
"Close to 40 percent of African American adolescents are overweight or obese in comparison to about 30 percent of non-Hispanic white adolescents," said Becky Siceloff of Project Fit.

Obesity is often linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, but experts say change is possible with time and proper intervention.

A new study at USC called Project Fit is culturally tailored for African Americans adolescent ages 11 to 16.

"Catch them at this critical time in order to establish healthier habits that they will then take with them as they leave home and impact them throughout the course of their lifestyles when they begin to have a family," said Vashawn Heatley of Project Fit. "It's our way of kind of impacting this current generation as well as those generations to come."

Families which consist of an adult and an adolescent are split into one of two groups. One focuses on exercise and nutrition, while the other offers a more comprehensive approach. Tools for effective communication are also emphasized.

"To kind of help them ride out the wave as teens are beginning to develop into younger adults and practice their independence and find their voice and their self identity," said Heatley.

The study will hone in on which approach works the best while discovering how culture and attitudes about exercise also help to shape the outcome of an adolescents. 

Families who participate meet for an hour and a half a week for ten weeks and are paid $100 in compensation. To get started call 450-0FIT.

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