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There are various programs that work specifically with children who carry excess weight and their families to help them adopt a healthier lifestyle (such as MEND, Healthy Weight & Your Child, etc.).  As these evidence-based programs are being disseminated across the country, CATCH has tailored its physical activity programming to develop a curriculum specific to these programs, separate from our CATCH Kids Club program for after school and recreation programs.  While CATCH is designed for all children, the content developed for these types of programs is a more prescribed approach to assist activity staff in providing a quality setting for children and their families to participate in and enjoy physical activity.

Austin, TX area YMCA’s have been using the original CATCH MEND program for over 6 years. “Our team really loves the strategies that they’re taught,” says Program Director Missy Quintela. “The training for this is very different from standard CATCH training, and there’s a lot more information on how to instruct the class, how to get kids moving, and how to adjust to these children’s needs specifically as overweight kids. The curriculum is easy to do in a multitude of places, in a gym, on a field–right now we’re having to do it in the shade of some trees. The supplies are easy ones for us to have on hand, or already around in our Y’s.”


The overarching objective of CATCH Programming created for kids who carry excess weight is for children to have a physical activity experience where they enjoy moving their bodies.  From a child’s perspective, this simply means they had fun.  For program staff leading physical activities with this population this means you have delivered a program that:

  • Maintains a safe instructional environment both physically and emotionally.
  • Engages children at developmental levels appropriate to their physical ability.
  • Nurtures a child’s emotional and psychological capacity to try new movement opportunities.
  • Channels a child’s natural desire to play and helps them develop confidence to move more.
  • Encourages children to empower themselves and seek out more opportunities to be physically active with friends and family.

“The kids are having fun and it’s very group focused, which goes hand in hand with what we’re trying to achieve with the program. These kids need to feel a part of something and they feel part of a group.”

-Missy Quintela, Program Director, YMCA of Austin


CATCH Physical Activity Programming for kids carrying excess weight – What Makes This Guide Different

The CATCH activity content developed for programs that work with kids who carry excess weight offers user-friendly guides that simplify instructional delivery and keeps kids active.  It allows program facilitators to provide a quality setting for children to participate in and enjoy moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).  MVPA is best achieved through activities in which children run, play, dance, and move their whole bodies.  These activities give children the opportunity to practice and develop generalizable movement skills, gain confidence, and subsequently improve their physical fitness.

Unique features of the content include:

  • Step-by-step Activity Plans for physical activity leaders written in easy to follow language;
  • Lessons designed to be conducted in 60-minute sessions;
  • A variety of activities, sport themes, and movement activities;
  • Making It Happen section that offers overview and introductory information, considerations for conducting activities with kids and parents, and more!

Lesson includes:

  • Systematic instructional progression that provides warm-up, fitness, sports skill development, and cool-down activities;
  • Highlighted activities specific to being played with kids and adults together;
  • Videos that accompany some games and activities;
  • A variety of diagrams that detail organization and set-up;
  • Specific teaching and management tips for each activity; and,
  • Additional activity challenges to extend learning and increase skill proficiency.

For more information on how CATCH can be of service to your program, please contact us at [email protected].

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