Naperville’s Kroehler YMCA sets Healthy Kids Day activities

Healthy kids bolster hopes for a brighter tomorrow. That’s the idea behind the Kroehler YMCA’s annual Healthy Kids Day, set for 9 a.m. to noon April 26 at the downtown facility, 34 S. Washington St., Naperville.

Part of the agency’s national push to improve family health and well-being, the event offers an array of activities for children and their families, designed to encourage physical activity and learning, by adding fresh fun to both.

Researchers have found consistent correlation between kids’ health and their academic success, so advocates for juvenile health are looking at the upcoming summer break with concern.

Designed to “kick-start physical activity and learning now and throughout the summer,” Healthy Kids Day offers an array of activities that include a region-wide challenge that will award prizes to the top achievers toward the collective goal of 500,000 jumping jacks; family fitness classes; a kickoff for summer reading programs; essay and coloring/art contests; visits with local public-safety professionals; tips from dietitians and nutritionists, plus healthy cooking recipes that can be taken home in personalized cookbooks; and lots more.

“At the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day events, we will focus on health and education-related activities to ensure participants learn about nutrition, exercise and other preventable health diseases. Our health focus, combined with fun learning activities, will ensure that fewer children are at risk for childhood obesity or diabetes and be successful in school. It’s never too early to help children learn about healthy living. Research shows that during the summer, children are more likely to gain weight and fall behind academically than during the school year,” said Richard Malone, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metro Chicago, in a news release. “Healthy Kids Day is not just a single day of fun, active play and learning — it’s a kickoff to help families get a jump start on creating a healthier summer for their children.”

During the 2012-13 academic year, the FORWARD (Fighting Obesity Reaching healthy Weight Among Residents of DuPage) initiative sampled 30,594 kindergarten, sixth- and ninth-grade students in 260 DuPage County schools and found 29.6 percent were overweight. Nearly half of that group met the body mass index criteria to be categorized as obese. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15 percent of Illinois children age 2 to 4 are obese, and more than 15 percent of the state’s adolescents are overweight.

More details about Healthy Kids Day can be found at www.ymcachicago.org/kroehler.

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