CHICAGO — YMCAs across the country have increased the number of programs to address weight gain and obesity among youth and adults, according to a report by the YMCA of the USA, which studied changes in programming from 2005 to 2006.

Researchers found a 50 percent increase in Ys that offered child obesity programs, and 70 percent more Ys provided adult obesity programming in 2006 than in 2005. Ys that offered nutritional programs increased almost 30 percent, to 700 of the 2,663 Ys in the country, over the same two-year period, while Ys offering weight management programs — a combination of nutrition, physical activity and family education/involvement — jumped 165 percent to 566 Ys.

Programs also reached beyond the walls of the Ys. There was a 30 percent increase in involvement with community health and well-being coalitions. More than 900 Ys offered family-centered programs, from family nights to parenting classes.

Ys had an overall membership of 20.2 million in 2006. Half of all Y members are under the age of 18, 15 percent are between 18 and 29 years old, almost 30 percent are between 30 and 54 years old, and 11 percent are age 55 and older.

The Ys' contributed income hit$933 million for 2006, or 16.6 percent of combined total Y funding in 2006.

The annual statistics were tallied from responses of 2,476 Ys to a questionnaire collected in the first quarter of 2007 about 2006 programs and operations.

Top YMCA Programs In 2006:

  • Day Camp
  • Character development
  • Youth basketball
  • Aerobic group exercise
  • Strength training
  • School-age child care