Summer is the time for kids to get up, get out and grow. But research shows that kids are more prone to gain weight and fall behind academically during this time.
To get kids active and learning now and through the summer – a critical out-of-school time- 50 YMCA locations across New Jersey, including the Somerset Valley YMCA, are hosting Healthy Kids Day, a free community event to motivate kids and families to exercise and develop healthy routines at home. The national YMCA Healthy Kids Day is set for Saturday, April 26.
From cities to suburbs, more than 6,500 children and families in New Jersey are expected to come out to their local Ys on Healthy Kids Day to play games, exercise, dabble in arts and crafts, sample healthy snacks and discover that fun and fitness go together.
Nationwide, more than 1,500 Ys will be celebrating Health Kids Day, a YMCA initiative to improve the health and well-being of families and kids.
At the Y’s Hillsborough Branch, activities include family Zumba, kids’ games, healthy snacks, and a chance to meet community partners in health and wellness. The event is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and open to all in the community.
“One in three U.S. children is obese. This statistic, coupled with the fact that once summer hits, children will be more idle, demonstrates why it’s vital to help families develop healthy habits now,” said Bill Lovett, New Jersey YMCA State Alliance Executive Director. “As part of the Y’s commitment to healthy living, the YMCA has dedicated Healthy Kids Day to enhance the health and well-being of kids and to inspire healthy habits that will continue into adulthood.”
Healthy Kids Day events across the state will feature everything from sports and games to cooking demonstrations to obstacle courses and health screenings.
In addition to the Hillsborough Branch, the Somerset Valley YMCA’s Somerville Branch will host a family fun walk. Kids can also race through an obstacle course and get creative at an arts station, while the Bridgewater Branch will feature other fun family events.
“Each spring, Ys across New Jersey and across the country plant the seeds to grow happier, healthier kids,” said Mark Elsasser, President of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance. “Healthy Kids Day is a time to keep kids moving, learning and laughing while emphasizing the importance of good health and nutrition.”
“For us, Healthy Kids Day is not just a single day of fun, active play and learning – it's a way to get children started on a lifetime path to healthier living,” Elsasser said.
Make healthy the healthy taste test!
In celebration of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:
- High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development.
- Foster an Early and Ongoing Passion for Books – Read to and with your kids. Help children read at every age and every stage of their development.
- Team Up for Athletic Events – Set a family goal of great health by teaming up for community or charity events like races, walks, and fun runs.
- 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.
- 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.
In addition to local sponsors, Healthy Kids Day is supported by national media partners Sprout and Lazy Town, who are committed to encouraging kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors.