The prevalence of obesity in United States youth has increased dramatically in recent years. Overweight children are not only at risk of being overweight throughout their childhood and adult life, but the risk of development of certain medical and psychological conditions also increases.
Soccer is the perfect balance of exercise and leadership/team-building and confidence building for children who are obese, or at risk of becoming obese. Soccer gives us the ability to show kids that exercise can be fun! It also helps develop basic life skills that are transferable to all facets of life (leadership, discipline, teamwork and respect).
On June 25th, in Collaboration with the Optimus Health Clinic, Stamford based organization with the mission of improving the overall health of our communities in Bridgeport, Stamford, and Stratford, particularly the medically underserved. UNFC and Optimus hosted a one-day soccer camp for 75 kids and their parents with the goal of combating childhood obesity by teaching how exercising and healthy eating habits can be fun. STARS Program is a circuit training divided into 8 stations After the completion of each station kids receive a star. At the end of the circuit kids receive a prize.
STARS utilizes the many different aspects of soccer to introduce team building, leadership and healthy living styles. Optimus identified over 100 youth in Stamford that were, or at-risk-of-becoming, obese. Out of those 100, more than 70 spent a day with UNFC and 10 volunteer coaches engaging in 8 different stations focused on passing, agility, strength and nutrition, among others. McDermott said, “We showed these kids that exercise can be fun, not work. Not only did we show them skills and help them reach the height of their ability, but we had the chance to teach them leadership, respect and teamwork – things that will carry them throughout their whole lives.”