Red, yellow, blue and green walls match the colors of workout T-shirts the kids wear and the exercise balls they use. This is not your typical fitness facility. PowerKidz Youth Fitness Center in Indianapolis is exclusively for kids ages 6 to 17. The kids like it that way. So do their parents.


Marketing fitness to kids is an expanding trend. It's fueled by the growing childhood obesity problem nationwide, cutbacks in school gym classes and working parents looking for ways to keep children active, fitness experts say.


With over 35 million children in our target market, the potential certainly is very big, said Kurt Knierim, chief marketing officer for Fitwize 4 Kids, a Novato, Calif.-based company with 52 franchises nationwide. We're looking in the next five years to have anywhere between 200 to 500 locations.


While those are ambitious, there's a bigger market for the kids who aren't athletic but want a place to work out where they won't be intimidated by kids who bench-press 300 pounds.


The International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association reports the youth market is the second-fastest-growing segment of the fitness industry. Their membership in commercial clubs has risen from 1.8 million in 1990 to 4.1 million in 2006.


News release provided by IHRSA. Visit for more information.