Amazing Athletes program helps fight childhood obesity

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PHOENIX -- It's a growing epidemic in America -- childhood obesity. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of obese kids has more than tripled in the past 30 years. In Arizona, some 30 percent of children are overweight or obese.

With that in mind, a Valley couple is hoping to make a difference by getting kids moving at a young age. Valley residents Lee and Diana Collins are the parents of three children. They have made it their mission to teach kids healthy habits. They run Amazing Athletes, an extracurricular program that they take to preschools throughout the East Valley.

Right now, they visit nearly 20 schools in Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Chandler, Queen Creek and Gilbert. Some 500 kids, ages 2 to 6, participate in the program where they exercise, while working on gross motor skills.

"It's really all just play to them,” Diana explained. “The idea is to get them moving at a young age."

By working with different obstacle courses, games and sports equipment, the kids have a great time.

Lee comes from a business background with years of playing sports and has been coaching their boys’ teams for six years. Diana has a bachelor's degree in child development with five years of preschool teaching, as well as experience playing sports and assisting with their boys’ teams.

Working with Amazing Athletes has given them the chance to do what they love, while making a difference in the lives of children in the Valley.

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term health impacts. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. They are also more likely to become overweight or obese adults, increasing the risk for adult health problems like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even certain types of cancer.

If you'd like to find out more about Amazing Athletes, check out the Collins' website at or call 480-540-7396.