SUMMIT, NJ - On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 18, afterschool children at the Summit Area YMCA sang and danced to “We can build a Healthy U, at the YMCA!”, an original song written by staff to encourage good eating and exercise. Students from ages 5-13 attended the Healthy U event sponsored by The Horizon Foundation.
Healthy U is the first afterschool program in New Jersey that combats child obesity. Created in 2008, the Healthy U program has helped over 20,000 kids at 400 different YMCAs across the state.
Along with singing and dancing, the children were involved in CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) games and food tastings of various fruits and vegetables. By learning an original song “Whoa, Slow and Go,” the children discovered which foods are healthier than others. Each child pledged to eat as many “Go”, or healthy foods as possible, with a minimum of “Slow” foods and no “Whoa” foods.
The children sang and danced to musical entertainment. Apart from the original song about good eating, the young people also enjoyed “YMCA” by the Village People, “We Will Rock You” by Queen and “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction.
The Summit Area YMCA's program was created to prevent childhood obesity by trying to teach kids proper nutrition, exercise and that strong family involvement can lead to a healthy, happy life.
Healthy snacks were provided for the children and they also enjoyed a group dance session in which they sang to various songs.
“The biggest idea with Healthy U and the CATCH program is just for the kids to have fun," Sue Fieseler of the Summit Area YMCA said. "If they enjoy what they are doing, they are going to do it more often.”