b976cd326d1e48de424f18c619aa39b0_bmsk_ojoyObesity in young people is a real issue in the United States, having more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2012, more than 1/3 of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Obese youth are more likely to have pre diabetes, and be at higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social/psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self esteem. Over the course of their lives, obese children and adolescents are more at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, several types of cancer (including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix and prostate), and osteoarthritis. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.

We’re not immune here either. In a 2012 survey of North Carolina, among kids 2 to 5 years old, 16.2% were overweight and 15.5% were obese (that’s defined as >95th percentile BMI-for-Age). In high school kids, 14.6% were overweight and 13.4% were obese.

The reason behind these numbers? Typically, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. So what can be done to improve things, particularly for younger kids struggling with eating right and getting enough exercise?

Enter Miami natives Jorge and Kalina Martinez and their revolutionary new program they’ve recently launched here in Charlotte: the Lean Teen Program.

Jorge and Kalina moved to Charlotte five years ago to embark on a new journey: starting a family. That journey proved to be a roller coaster of emotions, through repeated attempts at IVF and multiple miscarriages, which ultimately ended sadly. As time passed, they were able to heal and become stronger. They decided to rebuild their company, Lean Teens, which had been a success in Miami. Currently there are no other programs out there like Jorge and Kalina’s that give teens the complete support they need to lose weight.image002

At the Lean Teen Program, teens are given the tools they need to transform their lives, from balanced nutrition plans, exercise classes and group support. Group classes are designed for teens aged 9 – 19, and encourages them to change their habits and transform the way they think about nutrition and exercise.

– Personalized Consultations
The program starts with a one-on-one nutritional consultation to understand the teen’s eating habits. With the help of the teen, the Lean Teen coach will prepare a nutrition plan that gives each participant the flexibility to make permanent lifestyle changes. Each coach will also keep track of monthly progress and offer advice.

– Group Meetings
With the assistance of an expert psychotherapist, teens discuss positive thinking, body image, self-esteem, anti-bullying strategies, how to deal with stress, goal setting, problem solving, nutrition and more. These classes are designed to help kids stay motivated and on track to reaching their goals, and allows them to make new friends and get encouragement and feel empowered.

– Exercise Classes
Each class is 1 hour long – 30 minutes of exercise and 30 minutes of group support. By combining short bursts of cardio with recovery periods, Lean Teens are able to burn more calories than exercising at the same pace in just half the time. The hydraulic equipment used is safe for youths to use.

While in Miami, Jorge and Kalina had over 100 teenagers attending their exercise classes and were able to transform lots of lives. They’re hoping to have the same impact here in our community, providing the tools necessary for lifelong healthy habits.

For more information about the Lean Teen Program, or if you’re interested in enrolling (or attending a class), visit their website. For a limited time they’re offering free registration – don’t miss this great opportunity!