Healthy Kids Day aims to keep children active during summer

Matthew Lane • Apr 28, 2017 at 11:21 AM

KINGSPORT — The Greater Kingsport Family YMCA wants kids to charge into summer with healthy habits and hopes a free event this weekend will inspire children to keep their minds and bodies active all summer long.

The YMCA is holding its annual Healthy Kids Day Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Similar events are being held at YMCAs across the country, and the national initiative aims to improve families’ health and well-being by featuring special mini events, a magician, bluegrass band, demonstrations from Taylor’s Martial Arts Academy and East Tennessee Cheer & Gymnastics.

Other activities include a garden station, Hula Hoop contests, relay races, a mini train, and much more to motivate and teach families how to develop healthy routines at home.

Snacks will be provided by Jimmy John’s, Home Depot will provide a kids’ building station, an obstacle course by the U.S. Olympic Training Site will be on site, along with other vendors such as Cabela’s, PEAK Young Professionals, Bays Mountain Park, Wellmont Health System, the Sullivan County Health Department, Healthy Kingsport, and the Kingsport Aquatic Center.

All attendees will be entered to win door prizes, and the first 150 kids in attendance will receive a YMCA Healthy Kids Day bag.

According to a press release from the YMCA, one in three U.S. children is obese, and when summertime hits, kids tend to be more idle. Research shows that without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year.

Healthy Kids Day aims to help parents begin thinking early about what their kids need to grow and achieve all summer long.

For more information, contact Regan Pierce (youth program director at the YMCA) at (423) 765-9753 or rpierce@ymcakpt.org.

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.