Chicagoans make fitness a main goal in 2014 - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Chicagoans make fitness a main goal in 2014

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Tennis shoes. (Photo courtesy of Escuela Virtual de Deportes via Wikicommons) Tennis shoes. (Photo courtesy of Escuela Virtual de Deportes via Wikicommons)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It happens every January.

People make New Year's resolutions to "get fit," and flow into the gym to fulfill them.

At the McCormick YMCA in Logan Square, they know the trick is to keep those resolutions from melting with the snow.

Falling off the wagon is not just a personal disappointment; the price of treating illness related to obesity is now higher than the healthcare costs of smoking.

Prices that Chicago may pay as it suffers some staggering numbers obesity related illness.

Childhood obesity in Chicago is more than twice the national average, and two thirds of adults are overweight or obese, the same as the national average.

But there are extremes.

"In this community, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Hermosa, we have the highest diabetes and obesity rates in the country. three and four times the national average," Executive director of the McCormick Tribune YMCA, Stephen Vick said.

"While we still have a significant problem we're starting to see some elements of hope," Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair said.

Chicago's Health Commissioner says fitness is a top priority.

That's why the city is working to bring recess back to public schools, to get sugary snacks out of vending machines and to put more butts on more bikes and give them more lanes for pedaling.

The public campaign seems to be paying off.

"Between 2003 and 2013, the obesity rates for kids entering kindergarten at CPS has decreased by 20 percent. what that means is a thousand kids are entering kindergarten at a healthier weight," Dr. Choucair said.

"It's not just about coming and working out, but changing your habits on a daily basis, [and] changing what you do week to week. Let's put an apple in their hand, and a water, instead of a Pepsi and a Cheetos," Vick said.

"If you start losing weight you're less likely to have high blood pressure, less likely to develop diabetes," Dr. Choucair said.

So it may be cliché, but this is one new years pledge worth keeping.

"I stuck with it two years, doing Zumba mostly, um 45 pounds I lost. And so I love Zumba so much I started teaching. You just feel stronger and healthier, it's not all about the scale," Zumba teacher Amanda Schultz said.

Amanda's success started with a New Years resolution in 2012.

Just about everybody wants to be fit and healthy. As a nation, we spent more than $22 billion on health club memberships last year.

The "Y" has jumped into that field in recent years, with one big difference: it's not for profit, and if you prove you can't afford the membership, they don't turn you away.

To help people stay on track, the YMCA is offering an open fitness fair. Visit their website to learn more.

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