With childhood obesity going unchecked, fitness companies are stepping up.
What’s happening: Performance training leader Exos launched Coach for Good, a “social impact” program that inspires healthy behaviors among youth, women, and the military community.
Signing on, 7.5K students across 15 public schools in NYC will receive regular 15-minute “fit breaks,” live and on-demand movement classes designed in partnership with nonprofit Wellness in Schools.
According to Exos CEO Sarah Robb O’Hagan, it’s about reversing the declining health of children — a troubling trend exacerbated by the pandemic:
“With a focus on the key foundations of mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery, we aspire to help them get ready for their day by rebuilding healthy habits required for optimal learning and social engagement.”
What it means: Whether it’s in school or at home, America’s children simply aren’t being taught what it means to be healthy.
In particular, sedentary behaviors are on the rise — in a report benchmarking global youth physical activity levels, the US earned a D-, ranking 51/52 among developed countries.
While the White House attempts to fix its guidance on food, the private sector thinks fitness can make an impression on young minds.
- In 2021, Life Time launched Kids Studio, age-appropriate adaptations of its favorite group fitness classes, as well as an athletic fundamentals program called GameFace Sport.
- Last year, Tom Brady’s TB12 partnered with schools in the Tampa area for holistic gym class programming.
- Last November, the World Health Organization (WHO) and FIFA partnered on a gamified, motion-tracking activity app for children built around the game of soccer.
Elsewhere, Planet Fitness has become a third space for Gen Z, with its low-cost membership and free Summer Pass program capturing 15% of all high-school-aged kids in the US.
Takeaway: Kids don’t need to lift weights, but they do need to move — one in five children is obese, and 24% get less than an hour of daily activity. Brands like Exos will find success where others have failed if they can convince kids that being healthy is just part of growing up.