YMCA Partners with Chicago Bulls to Fight Childhood Obesity

Chicago, IL – The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago recently announced a partnership with the Chicago Bulls to combat childhood obesity and create EnergizaBulls Fitness Learning Centers in YMCA community schools.

On Wednesday, March 3, Mayor Daley, CPS president Ron Huberman, Alderman Walter Burnett, and YMCA president Richard H. Malone joined Bulls players Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Jannero Pargo and James Johnson to officially unveil the first of 25 EnergizaBulls Fitness Centers. The new fitness center is located at the Morton School of Excellence, a YMCA Community School, on the city’s west side.

The collaboration between the YMCA and the Bulls began in 2009 when the Bulls charity organization, CharitaBulls, was awarded approximately $1.475 million from the U.S. Department of Education to help enhance physical education programs within Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

“Childhood obesity has increased 60 percent in the last 10 years; diabetes has become a significant concern; and even high cholesterol is affecting children. Issues that we used to associate with adults are now affecting children. These statistics are sounding an alarm to us,” said Richard H. Malone, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

The EnergizaBulls Fitness Centers are permanent, sustainable wellness health centers located within the school’s building. Each fitness center will include cardiovascular machines such as bikes, elliptical, HOPSports, and exergaming equipment. The goal of the fitness centers is to help children develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to adopt and maintain a physically active and healthy lifestyle.

Through this collaboration, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago developed programs that get children moving in a fun and interactive way. Additionally, the YMCA will track student’s daily activity, monitor their progress and help them reach the recommended level of activity.

The YMCA is committed to help students make healthier lifestyle decisions and address the national childhood obesity epidemic. It was recently reported that Illinois has the fourth highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation.

Five other Chicago Public Schools chosen to receive fitness centers this year include Ryerson Community School, Lawrence Elementary School, Oglesby Elementary School, Orozco Community Academy and Whistler Elementary School.