Y-MVP Program Gets Teens Active Using App

By Lori Rose Benson, Vice President of Healthy Lifestyles, YMCA of Greater New York

Anyone who is the parent or guardian of a teenager knows just how hard it can be to get your child off the couch and become active.

It’s one of the reasons the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports 40 percent of elementary and middle school children and 27 percent of high schoolers are overweight or obese.

Here at the Y, we looked at what keeps kids on the couch, in order to get them off the couch.

Through over a decade of ongoing support of the YMCA youth health initiatives, EmblemHealth is helping us lead the charge to do just that.

And it’s also the main reason the New York City YMCA launched the Y-MVP Teen Fitness Challenge in 2013.

The Y developed a program that motivates, recognizes and rewards young people’s MVP levels — that’s Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity — while helping them create lifelong healthy habits. Any middle school or high school student can join the eight-week program for free, even without a membership. The program is available at 20 branches right now, but will soon expand to all 22 membership-based branches in the city.

Participants meet once a week for 90 minutes, where a fitness coach teaches them to set personal fitness goals. Each class exposes children to everything from cardio and strength training to cross training and group exercises. Children log activity on an app and earn badges that can be shared on social media for completing missions.

The app, right now only available at the branches, is expected to be available for mobile download in the first quarter of 2016.

It’s really about exposing kids to lots of fitness activities in order to find out what they like to do. How can we introduce kids to a wide-ranging number of fitness activities so they find what they enjoy most and continue doing it through life?

Thank you, EmblemHealth for your longstanding commitment to life-changing YMCA programs.

About the YMCA of Greater New York
The YMCA of Greater New York is, and always will be, dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, the Y nurtures the potential of every youth and teen, improves New York City’s health and well-being and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In scores of neighborhoods across the five boroughs and its camp upstate, the Y makes accessible the support and opportunities that empower more than 500,000 New Yorkers to learn, grow and thrive. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit www.ymcanyc.org.