YMCA promotes healthy living to kids, families

Hundreds of kids and their families came to the Healthy Kids Day event at the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA, Coon Rapids, Saturday evening.

Rainah Toney, 10, and her sister Arianna Toney, 7, sign the Healthy Kids Day - Healthy Living banner pledging their commitment to living healthier this summer.

Rainah Toney, 10, and her sister Arianna Toney, 7, sign the Healthy Kids Day – Healthy Living banner pledging their commitment to living healthier this summer.

It was part of the YMCA’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being and was designed to kick-start healthier behaviors now and throughout the summer.

According to Margie Rask, YMCA branch director, the turnout during the two-hour event was great.

She estimated that people taking part in Healthy Kids Day were 50 percent YMCA members and 50 percent non-members, Rask said.

There were activities in the YMCA swimming pool as well as other parts of the building, including the gymnasium where the climbing wall, face painting and games were popular.

In another room at the YMCA, there was a fitness class for both children and parents.

And tables were set up to provide food and nutrition tips for eating healthy.

In addition, families, especially children, were invited to sign a Healthy Kids Day – Healthy Living banner pledging their commitment to living healthier this summer.

The banner will be hung in a prominent position at the YMCA, Rask said.

According to Derek Otto, healthy living director at the Emma B. Howe Family YMCA, Healthy Kids day focused on offering ideas for families in five areas.

• Eat healthy – with a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better.

• Play every day – getting families to have fun while moving and playing, the activity making families energized and strong.

• Get together – encouraging strong relationships between adults and children, making the most of their time together.

• Go outside – kids and adults benefit from contact with nature as well as unstructured play and exploration.

• Sleep well – sleep is an essential part of healthy living and so many good things happen with the mind and body are resting.

According to the latest findings of the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot, which is 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.

“At the YMCA, we know parents struggle to keep their kids physically and intellectually active every day,” said Robin Hedrick, director of healthy kids, YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities.

The purpose of YMCA Healthy Kids Day was to get kids moving and learning while also helping families get a jump on creating a healthier summer and ultimately a healthy future, according to Hedrick.

Find Healthy Kids Day hand-outs online at yhealthykidsday.org, click on Health Tips and Ideas.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

  • http://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/cehd-blog/physical-fitness-month/ Dean Jean Quam

    It’s great to see community programs teaching kids healthy habits. For more tips, we’ve developed a fun infographic that shares 8 ways parents can help their kids stay healthy over the summer: http://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/cehd-blog/physical-fitness-month/.
    -Dean Jean Quam, University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development

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