CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign County YMCA will share in more than $250,000 in anti-obesity grants being awarded by the American Cancer Society's Illinois Division.
The local YMCA, one of 18 community organizations chosen to receive a grant, will get $14,500 to be used to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity through its summer adventure camp this year, according to the cancer society.
More than 1,000 youths in kindergarten through seventh grades will take part in the camp this summer, a cancer society announcement said.
Obesity is considered a major risk for cancer deaths, and is linked to colorectal, breast, esophageal, kidney, pancreatic, stomach and liver cancers, the organization said.
And obesity is a growing risk for children. It affects 17 percent of U.S. kids and adolescents — triple the rate of a generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And those kids haven't tended to slim down as they've grown up: About three-fourths of obese children grow into obese adults.
Even for children, obesity carries health risks. Obese kids are also more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort, fatty liver disease, gallstones, gastro-esophageal reflux and a higher risk of social and psychological problems, such as poor self-esteem, according to the CDC.
The local YMCA, which has renamed its new facility on Field South Drive in Champaign the Stephens Family YMCA, is pleased to partner with the cancer society to address childhood obesity, Kim Webb, YMCA chief operating officer, said in a cancer society statement.
YMCA officials couldn't be reached for more information.
In all, the cancer society says, its grants will reach about 18,000 youths and adults in early childhood and after-school programs throughout the state this year to help fight obesity. The grant recipients will also receive staff training and physical activity equipment such as balls, hula hoops and bean bags.