By GRACE GADDY
PALESTINE — The Palestine YMCA will host Healthy Kids Day this Saturday — a free community event aimed at inspiring children to keep their minds and bodies active.
The event will take place from noon to 3 p.m. at the Palestine YMCA, located at 5500 N. Loop 256.
Healthy snacks will be available, in addition to games, arts and crafts, and an array of “active play and educational activities,” according to a news release. Activities will include a COLORme Fun Run — a one mile fun run/walk in which participants are doused in colored powder — GaGa Ball and more.
Healthy Kids Day is part of a YMCA national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being.
The day is celebrated at nearly 1,600 YMCAs across the country and aims to get more kids moving and learning, as well as to kickstart healthy habits, according to David Hendricks, CEO of Palestine YMCA.
“One in three U.S. children is obese,” Hendricks said. “This statistic — coupled with the fact that once summer hits, children will be more idle — demonstrates why it’s important to help families develop healthy habits now. We know that during summer, research shows that kids are more likely to gain weight and fall behind academically than during the school year.
“Healthy Kids Day is not just a single day of fun, active play and learning — it's a kick-off to helping parents get a jump on creating a healthier summer. As part of the Y’s commitment to healthy living, through YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day, our goal is to improve the health and well-being of kids and inspire habits they can continue into adulthood.”
In celebration of Healthy Kids Day, the YMCA offers the following tips to help families develop healthy habits:
• High-five the fruits and veggies — Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development.
• Foster an early and ongoing passion for books — Read to and with your kids. Encourage children to read during every age and stage of their development.
• Team up for athletic events — Set a family goal for health by teaming up for community or charity events such as races, walks, fun runs, bike rides, etc.
• Volunteer together — Find a cause that matters to the kids. Open their eyes to a world beyond themselves and the rich rewards that come from making a difference.
• Lead by example — Be a good role model. Kids can be influenced by seeing how hard their parents work at home or on the job, and how rewarding that experience is.
For more information, contact Palestine YMCA at 903-729-3139 or visit www.palestineymca.org.