ELKRIDGE, Md. (WJZ) — September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and one organization is using its sport to promote an active lifestyle.

Tim Williams has more on how they want kids to swim toward good health.

It’s a disease that’s growing by alarming proportions.

“The epidemic of childhood obesity has increased incredibly in the past few years. Over 23 million children and adolescents are obese, and it’s becoming one of the number one killers of children,” said Tara Girch.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. At the Mar Tar Swimming School in Elkridge, parents are looking out for their children’s health by allowing them to swim toward fitness.

“A swimming pool makes your body lighter no matter what, so the weight is usually not an issue,” Girch said.

In 2010, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Swimming expert Tara Girch echoes the Centers for Disease Control and points out that obese children are often very anxious and uncomfortable being in their regular physical education classes and many don’t like to run because of pain, joint or back issues.

The United States Swim School Association encourages swimming because pools level the playing field.

“Number one, it makes them feel lighter. Number two, they don’t have to be outstanding; they don’t have to come in first. They don’t have to win medals or awards and so they get to be in an environment where they’re comfortable and they feel good about themselves,” Girch said.

And swimming can open a door to an active lifestyle one stroke at a time.

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

Tim Williams

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