Learn healthy ideas at ‘YMCA Healthy Kids Day’

Published 7:52am Monday, April 22, 2013

Editor’s Note: This column is written by Emory Smith, a YMCA staff member.
Busy schedules and life’s daily demands can make it difficult for parents to ensure that their children are practicing healthy habits on a regular basis. According to the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot — a survey of parents that gauges their children’s activity levels during the school year — less than 20 percent of the nation’s children get 60 minutes of physical activity, read books for fun, and eat at least eight fruits and vegetables every day. According to Southwest Georgia Public Health, in Decatur County, 27 percent of kids are overweight or obese and many read at least two grade levels behind.
On Saturday, May 4, the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA is celebrating YMCA’s “Healthy Kids Day” with a free community event to get more families moving, learning and living healthier. Healthy Kids Day, a national initiative of the YMCA, takes place at 1,900 Ys and features fun, educational activities such as karate, zumba, story time, an obstacle course, inflatables and informational booths. The Gibert H. Gragg Library Bookmobile will be here to promote its free summer reading program. State Sen. Dean Burke (R-District 11) will be kicking off the event at 10 a.m., and both city and county fire departments will be on hand.
“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 Adam Schrott, CEO of the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. “But it’s 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.”
During summer, many children lose exposure to activities that keep their minds and bodies active, leaving them at risk of falling behind academically and gaining weight twice as fast as they would during the school year. Following are five ideas for activities families can begin doing now and throughout summer to stay healthy.
• Begin planning now for summer activities. Get your child involved in activities that will challenge their minds and help them exercise. Many agencies in the area offer great summer programs. Your YMCA offers Summer Camps, karate, swim lessons, swim team, sports camps and a youth basketball league.
• Start a book series and read together each night as a family. Reading at night keeps the brain buzzing and young minds active! The Gilbert H. Gragg Library can help you find just the right book.
• Drink water. Have fun with flavor, give it some pizzazz with a slice of lemon, lime, orange, or even cucumber.
• Take a walking “staycation.” Map out a new neighborhood or hiking trail in your area and get your family to explore on foot. It’s a great way to make Saturday a healthy, active start to the weekend.
• Next time you hear, “I’m bored!,” give your kids a jump rope! It’s an awesome way to have fun and keep moving. They can go solo, or get others in on the fun.
• Start a “Words I Want to Know” notebook for the entire family. When there is an unfamiliar word, write it down, look it up, and add it to the family’s vocabulary. You can even keep track of these on the refrigerator.
Come to Healthy Kids Day for more ideas and to learn about more opportunities for the summer. The Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day event takes place at 1818 E Shotwell Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For more information, contact the YMCA  at (229) 243-0508 or www.bainbridgeymca.org.
Emory Smith is a staff member at the Bainbridge-Decatur County YMCA. He can be reached at (229) 243-0508.

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