The Community YMCA Expands ‘Healthy U’ Initiative to Combat Childhood Obesity
Matawan, NJ (Oct. 11, 2012) – As part of a statewide effort in New Jersey to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic, The Community YMCA announced today the expansion of the “Healthy U” initiative into preschool programs at six sites in Monmouth County.
“The Y is proud to be at the forefront of addressing childhood obesity and giving children and families in our community the support they need for making healthy choices and lifestyle changes,” said The Community YMCA President and CEO Rhonda Anderson at the launch of the program at the Y’s Child Achievement Center in Matawan.
More than 100 preschoolers at the Y’s Matawan location are among 4,500 3-5 year olds in New Jersey who will benefit from Healthy U, a statewide initiative supported by a grant from The Horizon Foundation of New Jersey. The program was initiated in 2008 by the Foundation to prevent childhood obesity among children ages 5-13 at 400 YMCA afterschool sites. With additional support, the program is now being expanded to reach preschool children in 80 YMCA preschool sites and is being piloted at 10 schools during school hours.
“The Community YMCA is grateful for the support from The Horizon Foundation and for their leadership in helping to nurture the development of children,” Anderson said, noting that one in three children in New Jersey are overweight or obese.
“Healthy U uses the CATCH curriculum (Coordinated Approach to Child Health), to promote physical activity and healthy eating, said Rose Mary Mintz Vice President of Child Achievement at The Community YMCA. As demonstrated at the program launch, preschoolers will experience noncompetitive games and fun physical activities. Additionally,“children will learn about nutrition through circle time activities and parents will receive valuable tips and suggestions for healthy lifestyle choices,” Mintz said.
In all, Healthy U will reach 250 children at The Community YMCA’s preschool programs in Hazlet, Matawan, Middletown, Red Bank and Tinton Falls and 1,250 elementary schoolchildren in the Y’s 30 afterschool sites.