Citizen Staff Writer
Tell a kid it’s time for cardiovascular endurance training, and you’re likely to get a blank stare.
But offer up a little “Dance Dance Revolution,” Wii Fit, a rock-climbing wall, jumping castle or even toddler yoga – and your little one is far more likely to get moving.
Finding ways to make family fitness fun is the goal of Saturday’s free Healthy Kids Day, sponsored by the YMCA of Southern Arizona and Pima County Public Library.
With nearly 1 in 5 American 4-year-olds being obese and a third of all teens overweight, the message is more important than ever, said Berlin Loa, program outreach director at the Jacobs/City YMCA Program Center.
“In 1991, we saw a trend had begun of children sitting still, with video games and TV as the baby sitter,” Loa said.
The shift in how children spend free time has resulted in heavier kids, and the YMCA and library are trying to lighten things up.
Fun events will be held Saturday at three YMCAs:
• 8:30 a.m. to noon, Northwest center, 7770 N. Shannon Road
• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ott center, 401 S. Prudence Road
• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Jacobs center, 1010 W. Lind St.
Events also will be held at library branches throughout Tucson.
Activities include a kids’ “Y-Athalon,” with swimming, walking and running; modified Junior Olympics; a jumping castle obstacle course; family relays; a checkers game using baby carrots and broccoli pieces that you can eat after capturing them; electronic sports wall games; toddler yoga; a climbing wall; Zumba dance aerobics; and “Dance Dance Revolution” tournaments.
Parents can take home a free Healthy Family Home Starter Kit that includes games, activities and self-tests related to health, activity levels, nutrition and spending family time together.
At least 3,000 Tucsonans are expected to take part in the events, which are held in more than 1,700 YMCAs nationwide.
Loa said the program is especially important during the economic downturn, when more kids are expected to stay home this summer instead of attending camps or sports programs.
“We will show families fun things to do at home, whether you live in a house, an apartment or a mobile home,” she said.
“The key is to make it fun.”
More Fitness Fun
Looking for other ways to inspire your family to get healthy?
The Tucson Children’s Museum is holding A Wealth of Health, Family Health and Wellness Fair, also on Saturday.
Live entertainment, hands-on activities, prizes, healthy snacks, a jumping castle, Wii Fit and more will be featured.
When: 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: 200 S. Sixth Ave.
Price: Free admission; healthful food available for purchase
Info: 792-9985, tucsonchildrensmuseum.org
If you go
What: YMCA Healthy Kids Day
Where: Three YMCA branches and several Pima County Public Library branches (see story)
When: Saturday, various times
Info: For a schedule of YMCA events and times, go to www.tucsonymca.org/events/ hkd.php. For a schedule of library events, go online to library.pima.gov/about/news/?id=1251.
Teen Iron Chef
Are you a kid who likes to create edible concoctions?
Show off your skills at the Healthy Kids Day Teen Iron Chef competition Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at the John Valenzuela Youth Center, 1550 S. Sixth Ave.
Teams of six teens will battle one another in creating a healthful snack within a set time.
The winning snack will be chosen from a panel of celebrity judges, and prizes will be awarded.
The competition is organized by University of Arizona library science students, said Sol Gomez, librarian at the Sam Lena-South Tucson Branch Library, who is helping with the event.
Participants won’t know until competition starts what ingredients are available to them.
“They will come up with healthy snacks, something they could put together when they come home from school, that taste great,” Gomez said.
To register for the contest, call 594-5265.