The Summit Area YMCA wants families in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Millburn, Springfield, Short Hills, Summit, Gillette, and Stirling to understand how adopting healthy habits can help reduce childhood obesity.

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and many families need support changing their families’ habits with the ultimate goal of being a healthy weight. That’s why the Summit Area YMCA wants families to improve eating habits and increase physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity affects one in six children in the U.S. and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. Here in New Jersey nearly 1 in 4 children are overweight or obese according to the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health.

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“Successfully lowering obesity rates in children requires the whole family to change their eating and physical activity habits,” said Sue Fieseler, Director of Community Wellness, Summit YMCA. “In all of our Childcare Programs, our Healthy U program is included in the curriculum. The goal of Healthy U is to promote the healthy behavior changes that will help prevent childhood obesity through a three-pronged approach of nutrition education, increased physical activity, and family involvement.”

The following tips are some great ways to incorporate healthier eating habits and more physical activity and into your daily family routine:

• Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals, and allow children to pour their own water.

• Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play(outside when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get hearts pumping and bodies moving.

• Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

• Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home. For example, turn off screens during meals, go for a walk, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen.

• Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.

About Healthy U 
The Healthy U program is the result of a collaborative partnership between The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance. Through preschool, after-school and school-based programs, Healthy U impacts more than 90,000 children, ages 3 to 13, at 480 YMCA and elementary school sites statewide. These YMCA afterschool and preschool programs and partnering schools are implementing environmental strategies and activities, and education to increase physical activity and promote good nutrition for students and their families. Since its inception in 2007, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has awarded three grants totaling $4.62 million through 2019.

The Summit Area YMCA is pleased to be part of Healthy U, a statewide initiative to introduce the award winning CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) curriculum aimed at addressing the childhood obesity in the preschool, afterschool, and elementary school setting.

The CATCH Kids Club (CKC) program is comprised of nutrition education materials and a physical activity component. Your child will learn about healthy living and healthier lifestyles all while having fun! This program will incorporate 30 minutes of non-competitive physical activity at least three times during the week. CATCH is incorporated into our various childhood programs at the Y, including but not limited to, preschool, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, afterschool care, and more! CATCH is an evidence-based and award winning curriculum that was created in 1992 by national education and child health experts at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health and the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.

The Healthy U program is open to children between the ages of 5 and 12 who are enrolled in the Summit Area YMCA’s afterschool programs.

Join us for a healthy breakfast and get some great info on lunch ideas, recipes, and taste testing at the Summit YMCA on September 13 at 9AM as well as in Shoprite in Summit on September 18, 9:30am - 11am.

About the YMCA The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across New Jersey, YMCAs reach over 550,000 residents including 250,000 children under the age of 18. Ys nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 37 New Jersey communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. The New Jersey YMCA State Alliance brings together New Jersey Ys to better serve the people of New Jersey. Learn more at www.njymca.org.


The Summit Area YMCA is one of area’s leading 501c3 organizations. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need. To strengthen your community and provide others with the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive, make your tax-deductible donation today at www.theSAY.org/give.