Healthy Kids Day aims to keep children active during summer months

Matthew Lane • Apr 24, 2016 at 2:00 PM

KINGSPORT — It is a time for kids to be inspired not only to stay physically active during the warm summer months, but remain mentally active as well.

This is the message from the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA as it announces its annual Healthy Kids Day on April 30. The event is free to the community and will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the YMCA (1840 Meadowview Parkway).

Abigail Weaver, marketing and communications director for the YMCA, said the goal is to inspire more kids to keep their minds and bodies active during the summer break.

At the Kingsport YMCA, families and children will play active games, watch and participate in interactive science experiments, listen to music from Model City Groove School, watch demos from D-B’s Robotics Team, eat healthy snacks, ride in a mini-train, climb on a Kingsport fire truck, and take part in other fun activities to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home.

The Y believes in the potential of all children, and we strive to help kids find the Wow! factor inside themselves,” Weaver said. “A child’s development is never on vacation, and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and motivate kids to stay active in spirit, mind and body throughout the summer.

Summer is just around the corner and with it children’s break from the routine —mornings spent sleeping in, afternoons spent watching television or playing video games in the cool air conditioning and evenings enjoying a nice ice cream cone before bed. It may sound great, but a summer spent like this can have lasting negative effects.

Kids are less physically active and less engaged in learning during the summer months, and research shows that children gain weight two to three times faster than during the school year. In addition, kids can fall behind academically because they don’t have access to out-of-school learning opportunities.

Weaver said Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away the summer but instead focus on physical and mental play. Across the nation, nearly 1.3 million participants will be involved in games, healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts and more.

In celebration of Healthy Kids Day, the YMCA is offering 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. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.

— 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 and bike rides.

— 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.

— Make sleep a priority: Doctors recommend 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5 to 12 and 7 to 8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day is supported by several community organizations such as Healthy Kingsport, Mountain States Health Alliance, Model City Groove School and the Sullivan County Health Department.

For more information on this and other YMCA events, visit www.ymcakpt.org.

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