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Be Fit, Be Active! Keeping Our Kids in Motion

Posted by: PDoliber
Mar 16, 2016
Learn all about what the YMCAs are doing to combat childhood obesity with the help of an outstanding organization!

As it stands, the United States no longer leads the world in childhood obesity rates. This victory, however, does not mean obesity is no longer an issue for American children.

According to the CDC, obesity affects approximately 12.7 million children in the United States. Obesity isn’t simply a cut and dry condition; this crippling condition often times leads to other complications, including poor heart health, diabetes, and shorter life expectancy. This is why eliminating childhood obesity is a priority for the YMCA. Nationwide, the YMCA remains one of the largest youth-serving organizations. Therefore, commitment to the healthy lifestyles of those who attend the YMCA is a given. Most recently, the YMCA partnered with Healthy Weight Partnership, INC in an effort to combat the nationwide epidemic. Together, the Ys and Healthy Weight Partnership implement programs like MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do It!) in YMCA facilities everywhere. In addition to the physical programs within the Y’s, The Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs works tirelessly to promote legislation supporting the healthy lifestyles of children.

There are many preventative measures currently in place in an effort to combat obesity in children. In many grade schools, recess remains part of the curriculum. Programs like Let’s Move! are a vital part of this work. Developed by the first Lady Michelle Obama, Let’s Move! focuses on the childhood obesity epidemic, and aims to combat it by incorporating more physical activity and better food choices in schools across the nation. Though efforts are made through schools, there are still gaps in time that need to be accounted for. Leading a healthy lifestyle is a constant effort, and school is only a portion of that time. In fact, according to the CDC most recesses run, on average, for 30 minutes a day. This is only half of the physical activity that a child or adolescent requires in a day, leaving a large gap in a child’s developmental potential.

This is where programs like the YMCA and BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success) come into play... literally! Formed in 2009, BOKS is dedicated to the reversing the physical inactivity epidemic amongst children. A free before-school physical activity program aimed to get children moving in the morning and their brains ready for a day of learning, we believe every child has a right to be active. Due to the passion and dedication of community members, parents, and educators, BOKS creates a safe space for physical activity backed by science and disguised as play. Because of its accessibility, BOKS is largely successful in activating children nationwide on both a physical and mental level. This is one program incorporated into many YMCA activities in the Commonwealth area.

Recently the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) completed a comprehensive three-year study of the BOKS program and found that the program had a significant positive effect on the executive function of children related to working memory and shift. Thus children participating in BOKS were better able to retain information, complete tasks, carry out instructions, and transition from one task to another. The YMCA looks forward to collaborating with such a dedicated company for this amazing cause. To read more click HERE!

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