FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA joins YMCA's throughout New Jersey in celebrating the annual Healthy U Fall kickoff in its youth programs on Thursday, Oct. 26.

In New Jersey, one out of every three school age children is either overweight or obese putting them at risk of developing serious health problems later in life.The Healthy U program is the result of a collaboration between The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance. Healthy U’s goal is to promote healthy behavior and to prevent childhood obesity through more physical activity, family involvement and nutrition education.

The purpose and goals of the Healthy U annual kickoff events are to:

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  • Demonstrate the positive, healthy impact of Healthy U
  • Introduce new students and families to the many benefits of Healthy U
  • Promote a three-pronged effort to combat childhood obesity through nutrition education, stepped up physical activity and family engagement

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (1340 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains) local kickoff events include:

  • Child Care and Preschool classes will create healthy snacks to share with Y members.
  • Children at the School Age Child Care Program at Coles Elementary School will work with the Y’s dietician to create healthy snacks and participate in CATCH games.

In addition, on October 25 Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is also involved in Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide event to celebrate afterschool programs, where a pajama day is organized at all Y after school program sites. 

“Healthy U is changing lives for the better,” said Robert A. Marino, Horizon BCBSNJ Chairman & CEO and Horizon Foundation Chairman. “Thousands of children who take part in Healthy U each day are learning why proper nutrition and physical activity are so important. These children are leading healthier, more productive lives.”

“Celebrating Healthy U in coordination with the annual Lights On Afterschool event is so important to raise the awareness of improving the health and well-being of children,” said Sue Cornell, Healthy U Director. “Healthy U positively impacts over 90,000 children ages 3 to 13 at 480 YMCA and 90 elementary school sites statewide.

Healthy U is a unique asset to YMCA childcare education programming. All evidence indicates that well-nourished active children are more prepared to learn and thrive. We are thrilled to have The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey as a strong partner.”

Since Healthy U’s inception in 2008, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has invested more than $4.7 million to sustain the program through 2019. For more information on this program contact your local Y or Sue Cornell, Healthy U Director, NJ YMCA State Alliance at sue.cornell@ymca.net or visit www.njymca.org

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to 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.

About Lights On Afterschool

Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their role in keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and helping working families. The effort has become a hallmark of the afterschool movement and annually sees more than 1 million Americans celebrate at more than 8,000 events nationwide. Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance to underscore the need to invest in afterschool programs, which provide homework help, healthy snacks, mentoring, physical activities, structured safe programming and more.  The YMCA is a partner organization.