On April 16, Healthy Kids Day will return to the Northwest YMCA, 7770 N. Shannon Road.

Healthy Kids Day is a signature event within Activate America; it is part of the YMCA’s work to assist kids, families and adults who want to lead healthy lifestyles. It is intended to promote “healthy kids and families in spirit, mind and body.”

Parents and kids will learn about an array of YMCA programs and tools that teach healthy behaviors and healthy ways to play – “an essential lesson in learning how to take care of themselves throughout their lifetimes.”

This year, the Northwest YMCA presents its annual Y-athlon (a swimming and running event), a climbing wall, jumping castle, arts and crafts, healthy snacks, dancing, stage performances and free gifts. About 40 local businesses have planned booths, games and $1,000 in giveaways to add to the fun.

The day will begin with a 1-mile family fun run at 8 a.m. The cost to participate is $5 per family. It will be followed by the free Y-Athlon for ages 5-15. Additional free activities, such as facepainting, 3-on-3 basketball, dance-dance revolution, inflatable rides and the climbing wall, will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Money raised from the family fun run is earmarked for the Y’s Strong Kids campaign, a scholarship fund for families who otherwise would not be able to afford a YMCA membership.

This year’s event also includes the Y’s version of the TV show “Minute to Win It.”

“We’ve designed versions for both adults and children. There are a lot of physical and active things to do,” said Barb McFarlin, aquatics director for the Northwest YMCA.

A pancake breakfast will be offered prior to the activities, from 7 to 10 a.m. A healthy pancake option is available. Tickets to the breakfast are only $4.

A free Healthy Kids Day T-shirt will be given to the first 350 kids at the event. Robek’s will distribute free smoothie samples, Whole Foods has donated fruit to distribute, and Trader Joe’s has donated water and other healthy snacks.

According to the American Obesity Association, more than nine million U.S. youth are overweight and obese – more than tripling since 1980. YMCA Healthy Kids Day is part of YMCA Activate America, a national, long-term initiative focused on developing and implementing community-based solution to help all Americans improve their health and wellness.

For more information, contact Barb McFarlin at 229-9001 or visit tucsonymca.org.

If you go

What: Healthy Kids Day

When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 16

Where: Northwest YMCA, 7770 N. Shannon Road

Cost: Free

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