LIVINGSTON, NJ — Each spring, the YMCAs of America celebrate Healthy Kids Day, which is a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of America’s youth. On May 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the West Essex YMCA invites local children and their families to join them for the annual Healthy Kids Day that will encourage them to get up, get out and grow.

The free community event will highlight healthy and fun activities meant to promote healthy lifestyle choices. Even though summer vacation is meant for kids to spend their days doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily do during the school year, the YMCA says exposure to activities that stimulate both the body and mind often ends when the school year does. In fact, research shows that young children tend to gain more weight and are prone to fall behind in their studies during the summer months. Healthy Kids Day is the West Essex YMCA’s biggest day of the year because is fun for the community’s youth and reinforces the significance of making healthy choices at the same time.

“Healthy Kids Day is a day for families to have fun and play together, while reinforcing healthy habits,” West Essex YMCA Associate Executive Director Cheryl Francione said. “Kids get to learn that exercise is fun, and the healthy foods are both delicious and nutritious.”

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According to Francione, the event aims to help kids maintain healthy habits and academic skills to achieve goals and reach their full potentials. A day filled with activities like Zumba, Yoga, arts and crafts, aquatic safety, raffles and fitness obstacle courses will bring awareness about how eating healthy and being active are essential for kids to be able to lead a full and happy life.  

“The more support, guidance and opportunities we give kids, the more amazing qualities they’ll get out,” YMCA of the U.S.A. says. “That’s why we provide kids a healthy, caring environment of fun, learning and belonging.”

All children who complete the Healthy Kids Day challenge by successfully finishing each of the physical activities throughout the day will receive a free drawstring bag (or a shirt for children ages five and under). Raffle prizes will also include four New York Liberty tickets, two New York City FC tickets, four private sessions of swim lessons, a session of sports classes and a bike.

“We understand the parents have busy schedules,” Francione said. “Our Y is here to help. We’re their partners in helping kids to make healthy choices every day.” 

For more information about Healthy Kids Day, visit the West Essex YMCA Facebook page or email lterrones@metroymcas.org.