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Fitness boot camp helps fight teen obesity

Canada (Press Release) December 20, 2008 -- CALGARY, Alberta (CNN) -- Giving the gift of a healthy lifestyle can be the greatest gift of all this holiday season, not the latest gadget, toy, or tasty treat.

Participants will get a great workout
at the Teen Power Hour boot camp.

The Calgary-based organization is doing its part to combat teenage obesity
by teaching kids proper nutrition and exercise in a four to eight-week fitness boot camp similar to NBC's "The Biggest Loser."

The Teen Power Hour boot camp hopes its program will catch on nationwide.

"We wanted to work with 11-17 in a meaningful way, and we saw firsthand how fitness
and physical activity in general is being neglected in this population. With a lot of work, we've started a program that officially starts Jan 5th 2009, that encourages hard work and is a fun way to get in shape," said Teen Power Hour designer Allan Fine.

Teen Power Hour program is a four to eight-week after-school boot camp program which teaches participants how to meet their fitness goals. Video Watch for more on Teen Power Hour »

Parents are motivated to get their teens in shape because their not involved in an fitness program or organized sports team.Participants' fitness levels are assessed at the beginning and end of the program.

Each week, Blaine Meller and his wife Marsha will lead the three 60-minute sessions that include fitness instruction,nutrition,self image and physical health education. In addition, the participants are assigned two homework assignments on nutrition to be performed between sessions.

"After four weeks, all participants have an increased total fitness ability. We will have averaged over 40 percent improvement in total fitness. It's common to have a participants double their fitness ability," Fine said.

"No one has taught teens how to work out, or that they even have the capacity to work out. They gain an appreciation for pushing their limits, and when that happens, we see a tremendous boost in their self-confidence," he said.

The need for increased fitness across the country is striking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17.6 percent of North American teenagers were obese in 2006 -- more than triple the rate in 1980. Obesity puts the teens at increased risk for heart disease, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems, the CDC says.

"Success for us is when a kid is thinking about fitness outside of the program, because they enjoy how they feel when they're in better shape," Fine said. "We are hoping the parents will continue to enroll the teens in the program and that the kids will continue to come because they just feel better. Most teens will not be able to perform even one sit-up at the start of the program and they will be able to do 21 in our final assessments".

To Contact Allan Fine:


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