Sometimes the hustle and bustle of your daily routine can make it difficult, as a parent, to always maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your children. With the help the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre (LDVC) and its Director General Pat Buttino, however, a new Kid’s Program is now on the horizon.

During a recent trip to Italy, Buttino met with the Panatta family, who run their own gym equipment company. The Panatta’s showed Buttino their kids equipment line, the strength machines — which help build strength in your glutes, legs and back, for example — that are geared to kids three to 14 years old. Impressed with the Panatta’s demonstration, Buttino and his team at LDVC decided to bring over 20 of these machines to its sporting centre and are putting a program together in order for kids to follow a healthier lifestyle.

According to the Government of Canada’s statistics, the obesity rate among youth has almost tripled in the last 30 years. In fact, the Public Health Agency of Canada reports that almost 1 in 7 children today are considered obese. With this in mind, the program will give children a chance to work with a kinesiologist, who specializes in body movement and physical activity, as well as a nutritionist to teach children about a healthy diet.

“[The program is] going to aim at better posture, psychological development, cardiorespiratory fitness, development of coordination and motor function, and muscular development, [among other things],” Buttino says.

These strength machines are being using all over the world. They also have built-in technology that if, for example, a monitor puts the speed of the machine at a low level and the child tries to put it higher when no one is looking, an alarm will go off to warn the monitor, so no child will be overexerting themselves.

Buttino also wants to have the parents as involved in this program as possible. The equipment will be set up in a specific room in the sporting centre where there is a glass wall, so parents can watch their kids work out, and even work on their own physical health while watching their children.

“We’re trying to create fitness awareness for the family,” says Buttino. “We’re trying to aim it at their children, their overweight factor and at the same time create it into a family affair and get the whole family working on a better lifestyle.”

Buttino says the hope is to get this program underway by mid-October. The kids can come in after school or on weekends. Each session could last up to an hour and a half, depending on the child’s age. A few schools have partnered with LDVC to use the equipment during school hours. Two daycares have even expressed interest in joining the program. Membership costs are to be determined, but Buttino says they will be offering family plans. For example, a child-parent combo, or a child-and-both-parents combo, where the parents can use the sporting centre while the children use the new machines.