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YMCA's New Healthy Living Standards Gain National Attention

By Sarah Simpson

The YMCA recently announced its plan to implement new healthy living standards for the 700,000 kids who participate in early childhood, afterschool and summer learning programs at their roughly 10,000 program sites across the country.  The YMCA was one of many organizations and corporations to announce new commitments to reducing childhood obesity at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, D.C., in November.

YMCA’s new standards have garnered national media coverage, including The New York Times and Education Week’s Beyond School Blog.  As one of the nation’s largest, most influential out-of-school-time providers, industry leaders are hoping that the media attention will help the Y to set the standard and become a model for other afterschool programs.

Eighty-five percent of local YMCA chapters are expected to comply with the voluntary guidelines, which include providing fruits, vegetables and water during snack time, increasing the amount exercise, and limiting screen time. 

The Afterschool Alliance was invited to be a part of the Partnership for a Healthier America’s first-ever Summit.  As the lead organization on the afterschool strategy to help develop and implement the National Physical Activity Plan, we were thrilled to hear the First Lady highlight the important role that physical activity plays in the fight to reduce childhood obesity during her keynote speech.  The YMCA has taken a huge step to advance the efforts of the afterschool field to improve the lives of children, and to leverage the unique qualities of the out-of-school-time space in order to confront these challenges and offer innovative solutions for our youth.

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