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Is this new trend hitting childcare centres a good or bad thing?

Some might think it’s ridiculous, but I completely support it.

A childcare centre in Brisbane has made headlines this week after its decision to employ a personal trainer for the children attending.

While some parents are gobsmacked at the thought of it, I for one think it’s a fantastic idea.

We all know, the rate of childhood obesity in Australia is reaching scary new levels. In 2015, it’s estimated that one in four children will fall into the ‘obese’ category. The Victorian Government lists causes of childhood obesity as “unhealthy food choices, lack of physical activity and family eating habits”. So in other words, lifestyle.

So what better way to address lifestyle issues than with a change of lifestyle?

The rate of obesity in kids has doubled. Image via istock

For this reason, Hyperdome Early Education Centre in Brisbane employs Kenneth Wood, a personal trainer and father of three who is committed to bringing healthy living into the lives of children, starting as young as five-weeks-old.

Through his program, children at the centre participate in a days worth of physical activity per month and teachers are taught skills and games to keep the activities going on a daily level. He says, "Yes we do star jumps, burpees and push-ups but we also have other fun games like Frogs on the Lilypad".

Parents at the centre couldn't be more thrilled. Most of them note changes in behaviour, better sleeping habits and an increase in focus and attention in their kids.

There is nothing wrong with education kids on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, even from a young age. Image via istock
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As a parent, I would be thrilled if my sons were able to participate in such a program. They have so much energy that needs to be used up, and as a working parent it can be really hard to make that happen on a daily basis.

Most days are a haze of work, chores, errands and cleaning. As much as I try, a trip to the park is not a daily occurrence for our family. To know that my child was attending a centre that shared my views on healthy living and was working towards building their knowledge of healthy living would be great.

It seems though that not everyone agrees with me. A quick poll of our office suggested that I'm in the minority.

My colleagues were shocked at the idea of a personal trainer for children. "I think it's ridiculous to make kids do runs and sprints. What happened to a game of hide and seek, or climbing the jungle gym?"

I would think though that a centre like Hyperdome would also include these kinds of games in the children's routines so increasing the level of physical activity and providing new and different stimulation is great.

People may question the need for a personal trainer for a child of five-weeks but be real, it's not as if the baby is being asked to run laps. Rather, their program focuses on building core strength and head control through games and tummy time. It's an important stage of development and anything that assists a child in meeting such milestones should be encouraged.

Wood says, "constancy is key" and explains that by providing babies with activities throughout the day, it's ongoing learning rather than sporadic bursts.

The centre's philosophy is, "healthy minds, healthy bodies" which is also seen through their menu plans. The centre's chef has removed all refined sugar from the meals and increased the children's intake of whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Why all centre's can't do this is beyond me. And I wholeheartedly congratulate the centre for providing children with the right fuel for their active bodies.

I love the idea of personal trainers designing programs for kids but what do you think?

Want more? Try:

Five healthy dinners your family will love.

Playground workout – exercise you can do while your kids are on the swings. 

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