The YMCA is dedicated to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. The Sussex County YMCA strives to keep communities healthy and strong. The Sussex County YMCA a branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges has received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids that will enable local children at afterschool care learn more about healthy living.
The children who are active in the afterschool care program at Franklin Borough Elementary School will learn how to make healthy dietary choices and will become more active. One of the primary driving forces behind this program is ensuring that all foods and drinks served at school meet or exceeds the most recent dietary guidelines. Also, an increased availability and a wider variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and water during the afterschool program at Franklin Borough Elementary School. The second driving force behind this program targets a child’s need for increased time, intensity and duration of physical activity during the school day and afterschool programs. This works hand and hand with The Coordinated Approach to Childhood Health (C.A.T.C.H.) program already implemented at Franklin Borough Elementary School. C.A.T.C.H. and “Healthy U” teach children to become more physically active and make smarter food choices for a lifetime of healthy habits, with a long term goal to decrease obesity. While the Franklin Borough Elementary School meets the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards, additional funding is needed to ensure a wider variety of fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
Virtually all health organizations agree that people who eat a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits as part of a healthy diet are likely to experience the health benefits including reduced risk of chronic disease and weight control. The timing is critical for elementary school aged children as poor dietary habits can worsen into adulthood.
Extensive research documents that C.A.T.C.H. is effective in reducing childhood obesity and lifetime healthcare costs. A 2011 evaluation of C.A.T.C.H. across 380 after-school sites in NJ, found that participants showed a significant increase in total moderate to vigorous physical activity, and a decline in junk food and soda consumption.
The Sussex County YMCA staff will provide additional training to the Franklin Borough Elementary afterschool staff and purchase supplemental C.A.T.C.H. equipment with an emphasis on nutrition to increase the impact of the “Healthy U” program.