YMCA’s Healthy Kids Initiative

The Y’s Healthy Kids Initiative is an intentional strategy to expose all youth to healthy eating, nutrition and physical activity. While kids are participating in YMCA programs and services, they benefit from the standards, curriculum and initiatives the Y has put in place to help ensure equitable health outcomes for young people.

Farm to YMCA

Bringing intentionality to gardening and the farm-to-table concept, this Y initiative provides core elements for kids in early childhood programs:

  • Local food sourcing in meals and snacks
  • Experiential learning activities, like gardening
  • Culinary activities and food-related education

Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA)

At the Y we aspire to meet the HEPA standards. Based on research with key partners, the HEPA standards help to build a healthier future for our children by creating environments rich in opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity.
The HEPA standards:

  • Encourage physical play and movement throughout the day
  • Define food and beverage offerings, offering water as the primary beverage and offering fruits and vegetables with every meal and as snack options
  • Limit the amount of screen time
  • Educate parents about healthy living behaviors to incorporate at home
  • Add role modeling for YMCA Team Members

Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) curriculum

CATCH is a nationally recognized and evidence-based program with over 25 years of experience bringing physical activity and healthy eating to preschoolers through middle schoolers in a way that’s fun, inclusive and engaging.
CATCH is designed to promote physical activity and healthy food choices and engage families and communities. The CATCH curriculum includes:

  • Movement and physical activities
  • Hands-on snack preparation
  • Gardening
  • Reduced screen time
  • Inclusivity and teamwork
  • Family fun nights

Learn more about how the Y is using the CATCH curriculum with this blog post: The renowned CATCH curriculum helps kids learn healthy habits.

Additional Resources

In addition to what’s available at the Y, there are several more places to gather information about supporting healthy kids. Check out these suggested resources:

Teach kids healthy habits

Financial support for healthy food