Courtesy Sarah Gulseth

On Saturday, April 27, the West Cook YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club of West Cook County are celebrating YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day ® with a free community event that encourages kids to get moving and learning, and families living healthier. Healthy Kids Day, the Y’s national initiative to improve families’ health and well-being, takes place at 1,900 Ys and kick-starts healthier behaviors now and throughout the summer, a critical out-of-school time for children’s health.

Many U.S. children do not get the daily recommended hours of physical activity and reading, and daily amounts of healthy foods. According to the latest findings of the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot – a survey of parents that gauges their children’s activity levels during the school year – only 19 percent of children get 60 minutes of physical activity, only 17 percent read books for fun, and only 12 percent eat at least eight fruits and vegetables daily.

“At the West Cook YMCA, we know parents struggle to keep their kids physically and intellectually active every day. We want to help ensure fewer kids are at risk of childhood obesity and more kids excel in school,” said Lisa Merdinger, Child, Family, and Teen Director, West Cook YMCA. “YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day will get kids moving and learning while also helping families get a jump on creating a healthier summer, and ultimately a healthier future.”

Research shows that without access to out-of-school physical and learning activities, kids fall behind academically and gain weight twice as fast during summer than the school year. On April 27, YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day will help parents begin thinking early about what their kids need to grow and achieve all summer long.

The West Cook YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day takes place at the West Cook YMCA from 10AM to noon with an open swim from 2PM to 4PM, the Boys and Girls Club of West Cook in Bellwood from noon to 2PM, and features fun, active play and educational activities, such as an obstacle course, giant slide, fitness challenges, and cooking demonstrations.

The Boys and Girls Club of West Cook County and the West Cook YMCA are proud to host representatives from Bellwood and Oak Park Health Departments, the Bellwood and Oak Park Police Departments, and Veterans and Memorial Park Districts who will be presenting workshops on healthy living.

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day is supported by national media partners Sprout and Lazy Town, who are committed to encouraging kids to lead a healthy lifestyle.

For more information, contact Lisa Merdinger at 708-383-5200 or visit

Join the discussion on social media!