8/29/2013 5:05 PM
by Karen Franklin
BECKLEY - Middle school students in one county are encouraged to exercise with a free year-long gym membership.
The YMCA of Southern West Virginia is launching the sixth year of its "Active 7" program, which allows all seventh grade students in Raleigh County to exercise at the Y for free.
"Many times if children don't develop healthy habits when they're young, we find that they have more health problems as they get older, so this is really to help improve our nation's health overall," Jenni Canterbury said. "If we're able to have healthier kids, they we're going to have healthier adults."
Students will have access to the pool, youth exercise room and basketball court. Employees hope it will help curb childhood obesity at a critical stage in life.
"Seventh grade is a crucial time for students," Canterbury told WOAY. "Many times they may become active with other activities and might not stay physically active, so we want to keep them physically active by coming here to the YMCA."
The free passes will be distributed in school, but they need to be filled out and returned to the Y.