Y keeping kids healthy

Published 10:42 pm Monday, April 9, 2007

By Staff
Special to the Advance
The Atmore Area YMCA will join more than 1,500 YMCAs nationwide in the 16th annual YMCA Healthy Kids Day this Saturday, April 14. An opportunity for kids and families to "Put Play in Their Day," this special event uses free, fun, engaging and creative activities to encourage children and families to adopt behaviors that support a healthy lifestyle. YMCA Healthy Kids Day is part of YMCA Activate America, a national initiative designed to help children and adults discover and sustain healthier ways to live.
Unhealthy eating and physical inactivity are associated with an increased risk of a number of chronic health conditions including overweight and obesity. In fact, the percentage of young people who are overweight has tripled over the last 25 years. In 2005, a panel of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that school children should participating in moderate to vigorous activity for a minimum of 60 minutes a day. Studies have shown that children who develop healthy exercise and eating habits while they are young are more likely to continue to lead healthy lifestyles through adulthood.
"The need is as strong today as ever before," said Tammy Graham, executive director of the Atmore Area YMCA. "Families are under increased stress and they struggle to balance work, family and health. More physical activity through play helps children better manage stress, succeed in school, reduce frustration, build energy and, most of all, learn skills that encourage a lifetime of activity."
Activities taking place during YMCA Healthy Kids Day will include tug of war, a bounce house, races, an obstacle course, live music, demonstrations, food and drinks. Registration for Summer Day Camp also will take place at the event. Parents can get connected by participating in activities with their kids. A free YMCA giveaway for parents with tips on raising healthy, active kids will be available.
"For more than 150 years, YMCAs have developed initiatives and programs that have helped improve the physical, social, emotional and spiritual health of millions for Americans in diverse communities across the country," Graham said. "Participation in YMCA health and wellness programs such as Healthy Kids Day provides kids and families a chance to build friendships and community, a sense of well-being and confidence and improved physical, mental and cognitive abilities."
YMCA Healthy Kids Day is supported by the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Public Health Association, American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.
YMCA Healthy Kids Day is generously sponsored by companies dedicated to improving the health and wellness of American kids and families, including the Disney Channel, Kellogg's Corporate Citizenship Fund, the Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Tropicana.
The Atmore Area YMCA has been serving Atmore and the surrounding communities for 24 years. A wide range of activities is offered to help people of all ages and abilities increase and retain their health. The Ys Youth sports programs provide the opportunity for more than 200 area children to develop active lifestyles. The nation's 2,617 YMCAs serve more than 20.2 million people each year, including 9.5 million children, uniting men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. From urban areas to small towns, YMCAs are a place for people to belong, serving America's communities for over 150 years by "building healthy spirit, mind and body for all."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox