Tony Burke knew what it was like to be overweight as a child. So
several years ago, he began working on a new program that would
tackle all aspects of childhood obesity-from fitness to nutrition
to emotional health.
Now, he and his wife Nicki Klinkhamer have partnered with
numerous local hospitals to offer a free eight-week program geared
towards kids 8-14 struggling with unhealthy weight.
ProActive Kids includes 45 minutes of fitness and 45 minutes of
lifestyle education on Mondays and Wednesdays. On Fridays, the
entire family is invited to join the program to learn more about
fitness, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, Klinkhamer says.
"Our big differentiator is lifestyle and the psychological
effect of growing up overweight," Klinkhamer says. "We're focusing
on body image, coping with feelings and expressing feelings, how to
deal with comments made to you. …Then we also do a progressive
nutrition program where the dietician does basic education around a
lesson and brings in a healthy snack for them to make or try."
The program is offered at various locations throughout the
suburbs and continues to expand, Klinkhamer says. It is funded
through donations and partnerships with organizations such as
Cadence Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield, which keeps the program
The next sessions of ProActive Kids begin Jan. 28. For
information, visit proactivekids.org, email [email protected] or
call (630) 681-1558. Children must have a BMI in the 85th
percentile or above to qualify for the program. Hospitals
interested in being a program site can visit the website or email
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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