The Y Gets Millions of Kids Moving


In preparation for summer break, a time when many kids and teens lose the daily structure of lessons and physical activity, YMCAs nationwide are providing millions of families with tools for building a foundation for practicing healthy habits that will last through the summer.

It's all part of YMCA's Healthy Kids Day, which was celebrated on Saturday, April 26, at nearly 1,600 YMCAs across the country.

YMCA's Healthy Kids Day–the nation's largest health day for kids–helped families learn how to improve their health and well-being, which can benefit kids during out-of-school time. Kids are at risk for the "summer slide," with studies showing that when they're not learning and staying physically active during summer, kids fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast as than during the school year.

"More than one in three American children and teens is overweight, and there are concerns we're lagging other countries academically. We know summer break can put kids further at risk for both issues," said Dr. Matt Longjohn, National Health Officer at YMCA of the USA. "It's critical for families to develop healthy habits now that will continue into adulthood. YMCA's Healthy Kids Day is designed to provide parents with the tools and skills to establish these healthy behaviors."

YMCA's Healthy Kids Day featured games, healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, and more. To build on the healthy habits learned at this year's event, the Y offers five simple tips for families:

1. High five the fruits and veggies. Make sure kids get at least five servings per day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development.

2. Foster an early and ongoing passion for books. Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of development.

3. Team up for athletic events. Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events such as races, walks, fun runs, and bike rides.

4. Volunteer Together. Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.

5. Lead By Example. Be a good role model–kids can be influenced by seeing how hard their parents work at home or on the job and how rewarding that experience is.

YMCA's Healthy Kids Day is supported by the National Basketball Association and national media partners Sprout and LazyTown, who are committed to encouraging kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Source: The Y,