More Than 1 Million Kids and Parents Set to Exercise Their Bodies and Minds on YMCA's Healthy Kids Day®, April 27

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While summer is a season known for relaxation and carefree living, taking the "lazy days of summer" too literally has its consequences.

When the last bell of the school year rings, many kids leave behind valuable opportunities to play and learn. The majority of U.S. children are not getting the daily recommended hours of physical activity and reading, or daily amounts of healthy foods. According to the latest YMCA's Family Health Snapshot – a survey of parents that gauges their children's activity levels during the school year – only 19 percent of children get 60 minutes of physical activity, only 17 percent read books for fun and only 12 percent eat at least eight fruits and vegetables daily. And studies show kids are at even greater risk of falling behind in these areas during the summer.

On Saturday, April 27, the Y will host YMCA's Healthy Kids Day®, the nation's largest health day for kids, to inspire families to get in a routine of exercising their bodies and minds. More than 1.2 million parents and children are expected to participate in more than 1,900 free Y community events across the country. Activities throughout the day will get kids moving and learning and motivate families to create a healthier home environment.

"It can be difficult to ensure kids are practicing healthy habits every day, and surprisingly, in the summer it just gets tougher," says Dr. Matt Longjohn , senior director of chronic disease prevention at YMCA of the USA. "Kids are more likely to eat junk food, they become less active and they more easily forget things they learned during the school year. It's critical that we incorporate healthy habits into a summer routine. The benefits can last a lifetime."

YMCA's Healthy Kids Day will help parents learn fun ways to keep their kids physically and mentally active now and throughout the summer.  Research shows that without access to out-of-school enrichment activities, children are prone to fall behind academically and gain weight two to three times faster during summer than during the school year.  The community events include active play and educational opportunities that provide a chance to be inspired, learn, and enjoy each other.

In celebration of YMCA's Healthy Kids Day, the Y's national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families, the Y offers the following tips to help parents instill healthy habits in their kids:

  • Grab your bikes and take a family bike tour this weekend. Explore new neighborhoods or pedal to a new park for an afternoon of play.
  • Give your kids a jump rope. It's an awesome way to have fun and stay active. They can go solo or encourage others to join in on the fun.
  • Play the rainbow game. How many different colored fruits and veggies can your child eat in a day? Write down their totals on the fridge, or create a rainbow chart for the summer.
  • Set aside time each day for the family to read, either together or separately, and discuss what you read over dinner.