Healthy Kids Day, the annual festival at the Northwest YMCA Pima County Community Center, runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, April 17, at the Shannon Road facility.

The free festival celebrates its call to action, "Put Play in Your Day," a release said. It is intended to promote "healthy kids and families in spirit, mind and body."

Parents and kids 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 fourth annual Y-athlon (a swimming and running event), a climbing wall, jumping castle, arts and crafts, healthy snacks, dancing, stage performances and free gifts. Forty-five local businesses plan booths, games and giveaways.

There are a number of sponsors. Pima County library branches are collaborating with the YMCA and are also having Healthy Kids Week events at each branch this week.

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.

"Increasing the levels of physical activity in the lives of our children is a critical component of this country's effort to fight childhood obesity," said Mike Reuwsaat, executive director of the Northwest YMCA. "We want to dedicate a day to the Y-kid, so we encourage each and every member of the Northwest community to come and visit the Northwest YMCA and enjoy our programs and healthy activities for kids."

For more information, contact Deanne Seligman, planning committee for Healthy Kids Day, at 229-9001, extension 131, or visit tucsonymca.org.

Healthy Kids Day

10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 17

Northwest YMCA, Shannon Road

Free

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