CATCH MEND: Healthy Weight & Your Child

Healthy Weight and Your Child is a 12 month evidence-based program for children with obesity housed in YMCA’s across the country. CATCH has partnered with MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do It!) to develop a curriculum specific to this program, separate from our CATCH Kids Club obesity prevention program for after school centers.

Austin, TX area YMCA’s have been using the CATCH MEND program for 6 years now. “Our team really loves the strategies that they’re taught,” says Program Director Missy Quintela. “The training for this is very different from standard CATCH training, and there’s a lot more information on how to instruct the class, how to get kids moving, and how to adjust to these children’s needs specifically as overweight kids. The curriculum is easy to do in a multitude of places, in a gym, on a field–right now we’re having to do it in the shade of some trees. The supplies are easy ones for us to have on hand, or already around in our Y’s.”


The overarching objective of the CATCH-MEND Overweight Child Physical Activity (PA) Program Guide created for the MEND Program is for children to have a physical activity experience where they enjoy moving their bodies.  From a child’s perspective, this simply means they had fun.  For a MEND Activity Leader this means you have delivered a program that:

  • Maintains a safe instructional environment both physically and emotionally.
  • Engages children at developmental levels appropriate to their physical ability.
  • Nurtures a child’s emotional and psychological capacity to try new movement opportunities.
  • Channels a child’s natural desire to play and helps them develop confidence to move more.
  • Encourages children to empower themselves and seek out more opportunities to be physically active with friends and family.
“The kids are having fun and it’s very group focused, which goes hand in hand with what we’re trying to achieve with the program. These kids need to feel a part of something and they feel part of a group.”

-Missy Quintela, Program Director, YMCA of Austin

The CATCH-MEND Physical Activity Manual – What Makes This Guide Different

The Overweight Child Physical Activity (PA) Program Guide is a versatile and user-friendly guide that simplifies instructional delivery and keeps kids active.  It allows program facilitators to provide a quality setting for children to participate in and enjoy moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).  MVPA is best achieved through activities in which children run, play, dance, and move their whole bodies.  These activities give children the opportunity to practice and develop generalizable movement skills, gain confidence, and subsequently improve their physical fitness.

Unique features of the manual include:

  • 18 step-by-step lessons written in “teacher talk” language;
  • A comprehensive variety of activities, sport themes, and movement activities;
  • Limited Space activities that can be taught when adequate space is an issue;
  • Individual V.I.P. (Very Important Pedometer) Task Sheets that can be integrated; into any MEND lesson or presented as activities children can do at home.

Each lesson includes:

  • a diagram that details how the activity area should be set-up;
  • simple to follow “Ready, Set, Go!” lesson structure;
  • systematic instructional progression that provides warm-up, fitness, sports skill development, and cool-down activities;
  • specific teaching and management tips for each activity;
  • additional activity challenges to extend learning and increase skill proficiency;
  • movement modifications to accommodate all abilities and learners.

For more information on how CATCH can be of service to your Healthy Weight and Your Child program, please contact us at

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