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December 27, 2011 > A Commitment to Keep Kids Healthy

A Commitment to Keep Kids Healthy

Submitted By Tim Gallen

YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office for the nation's 2,700 Ys, has committed to standards that would ensure that more children have access to healthy food and physical activity in its 10,000 early childhood and afterschool programs across the country.

The new commitment is to the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and was announced at the Building a Healthier Future Summit, focused on ending the childhood obesity epidemic. PHA, which hosted the Summit, works with the private sector and its honorary chairwoman first lady Michelle Obama to solve the nation's childhood obesity crisis.

"As one of the nation's largest providers of early childhood and afterschool programs, the Y can make a significant impact in improving the health of hundreds of thousands of children nationwide," said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of Y-USA. "The Y is a leading nonprofit strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the country, children are in desperate need of healthy environments that help them thrive. Implementing standards and practices for Y childcare programs will help create a healthier future for our nation's children."

The new standards will:
* Establish a minimum of expected physical activity for children of different ages enrolled in our programs;
* Define food and beverages offerings, including designating water as the primary beverage during snack times and offering fruits and vegetables as snack options;
* Limit the amount of screen time (watching TV, playing video games, using computers);
* Encourage breastfeeding of infants in our care; and
* Commit Ys to conducting parent education to encourage healthy behaviors at home.

The YMCA of the East Bay is one of Northern California's largest trainers and deployers of volunteers. Last year the East Bay Y system trained more than 500 volunteers in programs ranging from childcare to teen enrichment, health and wellness and cultural harmony. With nine branches and almost 50 childcare centers in operation from Fremont to the Oregon border, the East Bay Y system also has the largest geographic reach of any YMCA operation in North America. For more information about the Y, visit www.ymca.net

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