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Awaken Summer Imagination!

Come Celebrate Healthy Kids Day® at the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA

By Abigail Weaver

Awaken Summer Imagination! According to a recent survey conducted by the Sullivan County Health Department, the rate of childhood obesity and childhood diabetes rank among the highest in Tennessee. When the school year ends, the physical and educational health of many kids worsens. Summer is the time for kids to get up, get out and grow, but sometimes when the school year ends, so does a child’s exposure to activities that keep the body and mind active.

Kids are less physically active and engaged in learning during the summer months.   In fact, research shows that children gain weight two to three times faster during the summer vacation than during the school year.  In addition, kids, particularly from low-income families, fall behind academically because they don’t have access to out-of-school learning opportunities.  In fact, by fifth grade, low-income kids are two to three school years behind middle-income children.

To kick-start physical activity and learning now and throughout the summer – a critical out-of-school time for kids – on Saturday, April 21, the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA is celebrating Healthy Kids Day® with a free community event for kids and families. YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, features games, healthy snacks, arts and crafts and more to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.  Bays Mountain will be joining us, along with other community partners like Healthy Kingsport, because this type of initiative is so important in educating and encouraging families to be healthier.

“At YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, we are focusing on health and education to ensure fewer children are at an increased risk for childhood obesity and more children succeed in school,” said Abigail Weaver, Kingsport YMCA. “We know that during summer, research shows that kids are more likely to gain weight and fall behind academically than during the school year. Health Kids Day is not just a single day of fun, active play and learning – it’s a kick off to helping parents get a jump on creating a healthier summer.”

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, fun runs, bike rides, etc.
• 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.

For more information, visit ymcakpt.org or call 423.247.9622.

The Greater Kingsport Family YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day event takes place at the YMCA Wellmont Center, from 10a-12:30p on April 21st.
The first 150 kids get a free t-shirt!

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