Boston University today, in conjunction with the Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), announced the establishment of a unique health, fitness and wellness program to help combat teenage obesity in the City of Boston.  The program will support Boston Moves for Health, ambitious initiative launched by Mayor Thomas M. Menino to increase access to free and low-cost physical activities and healthy living resources.

Kenneth Maxwell, Daphne Griffin, Mayor Menino, BU President Brown, Barbara Ferrer

The Boston University Health, Fitness and Wellness Program will provide access to quality fitness training, nutrition counseling, and wellness programming to children, youths, and families in at-risk communities.  Under the direction and guidance of experts from BU’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and BU’s Schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Social Work, this initiative will provide youths and families with the skills needed to make physical exercise and healthy choices an enduring part of their lifestyles.

After extensive consultation with BPHC and BCYF, the program will be housed in section of the BCYF Blackstone Community Center, which BU has agreed to renovate.  The location, a large locker room and shower space unused for over ten years,  was chosen for its potential to maximize outreach to at-risk youths and families, as well as for its proximity to additional health resources available in the region.

The facility will be staffed and supervised by members of BU’s Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (PERD).  The staff will help with training BCYF staff on fitness assessments and instruction on self-tracking of personal fitness level, as well as the proper use of fitness equipment provided by Boston University.  Equipment will include a mix of cardio, circuit training, hand weights and stretching/strength equipment.  Additional wellness programming will be introduced at a later date and will be staffed by Boston University.

Set to open in early 2013, the program, which will be a 36-hour per week commitment, is open to BCYF Blackstone Community Center members and youth 14 and up.

At today’s event, BU also announced the donation of 100 camp slots, to be run by its athletic coaches and the athletic department.  The camps are dedicated to training the young teens the skills needed to compete in basketball, hockey, wrestling, softball, lacrosse and rowing.  Also announced was the donation of two hours of prime ice time on Sundays from noon to 2PM dedicated for the Allston-Brighton Hockey League.