East Area Y holds fourth 'Healthy Kids Day'

Gone are the days of just a workout room and pool at the YMCA. Times have changed and so have the club's facilities and the activities it provides to kids and families.

"The YMCA has evolved through the years, adapting to trends in our local communities as well as nationwide," said Amanda Coyle, family director at the East Area Family YMCA.

On Sunday, the family fitness center celebrated its fourth annual "Healthy Kids Day" -- a national event that coincides with its mission, "put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all."

In efforts to redefine itself, the Y is working to better support Americans of all ages who are struggling to achieve and maintain this overall lifestyle. Taken from a recent press release, a new set of issues is calling the Y to act:

The nation's lifestyle health choices are contributing to increased rates of disease and reduced quality of life;

Families are finding it difficult to balance work, family and civic life;

Youth, regardless of family income, are not receiving the support they need to develop positive skills and values that can guide them throughout their life.

"The challenge is that many families see healthy living as an all-or-nothing proposition," Coyle said. "Through this lens, achieving a healthier lifestyle can seem overwhelming or out of reach. YMCA Healthy Kids Day shows families and kids that making healthy choices can be easy, fun and accessible to everyone."

More than 25 activities geared for kids and adults were offered. They included a family fun run, make and take art projects, family sports and games and water slide Olympics.

Additionally, the Y is piloting a new program called Healthy Family Home, a component of Activate America, which is the Y's approach to the nation's growing health crisis (for more information, visit ymca.net/activateamerica).

Healthy Family Home will be introduced to members later in the year in an effort to help them incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into their home lives, Coyle said. Starter kits were distributed to families who participated in Sunday's event. They are now available to all families online at ymca.net.

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