ATHENS, TN (WRCB) -- It's one thing to keep saying 36 percent of American's are obese and Tennessee has the fourth highest obesity rate in the United States. But it's another thing to do something about it.
Where to start? With the youth of America.
"I don't think they realize the impact, especially the younger kids," says Lee Montgomery with the Athens McMinn YMCA. "It's a cycle we're trying to break and it takes something courageous to break that cycle."
Montgomery teamed up with the local United Way to attack this problem head on.
"We can't do something about the whole country, but we can do something about the whole community," said Stephanie Linkous with United Way.
Linkous helped raise $60,000 for the United Way and donated it to the YMCA for the Y-5210 program.
The YMCA will start with grades two through five.
Y-5210 stands for getting the kids five servings daily of fruits and vegetables, two hours less of screen time daily, at least one hour of exercise every day, and no sugary drinks.
"If you see mom and dad drinking the big gulp you're going to do the same thing," said Montgomery.
That's why this program doesn't stop with the children. The YMCA will offer free personal training and classes for families with children considered at risk.
Montgomery says if we don't do something now the ramifications can be deadly. He says childhood obesity leads to heart disease, diabetes and in some cases cancer.
"We feel like this branding Y-5210 gives us a chance to impact future generations and not just a certain age group," he says. "These kids that we're talking to will be parents one day."