According to the America Obesity Association, more than 30% of US-based children and teens are currently overweight or obese. That number is anticipated to increase upwards of 50% by 2010.
Not an isolated American problem, developing countries worldwide are facing similar epidemics.
The overweight and obese numbers in Australian youth, for example, have risen by more than 20% over the past few decades.
In response, the youth fitness market has grown to become one of the most on-demand specialties in the fitness world today. According to MSNBC, more than one million youths and teenagers hired a personal trainer in 2006 for weight loss and sport performance needs. The youth fitness and youth sports training niches have emerged as two of the largest and most opportunity-oriented demographics in the entire fitness and sport training industry.
The International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA) has reacted to this growing concern by creating a Youth Fitness Specialist educational system involving a four-tiered process.
The Level 1 Youth Fitness Specialist certification was released on Wednesday May 21. The course material includes in-depth information related to motor skill development, strength, flexibility and coordination training, program design and conditioning methods as well as business-related information that helps fitness professionals understand how to establish successful careers in this specific niche.
The IYCA currently has several hundred members worldwide and has cultivated partnerships and endorsements from notable organizations, such as Mens Health, Perform Better, ESPN, Club Industry, Vortex and the National Personal Training Institute.
To learn more about the IYCA or to become part of its international mission, please visit www.iyca.org.