PROVIDENCE, RI -- The YMCA of Greater Providence is teaming with insurers United Healthcare to offer a program aimed at helping overweight youths aged 6 to 17 reach a healthy weight.

The six-month long program, called Join, is open to 150 youths, who must participate with their parents. It involves 24 weekly sessions, half of which will be small-group meetings at the Y, and the other half will be by phone consultation with a Y staff member, according to the Providence Y’s website. The sessions will cover topics such as portion sizes, emotional eating, developing a support network and getting active.

The program launches in February at eight YMCAs around Rhode Island. If successful, it could be expanded to other areas of the country.

United Healthcare has partnered with the YMCA on a national level before. Last autumn, the insurer announced it would give $2.25 million over the next three years to support the Y’s efforts to prevent obesity and related chronic diseases. Earlier in 2010, United Healthcare and the YMCA of the United States worked together to offer a nationwide diabetes prevention program.