WILKES-BARRE – The amount of fat in a large order of McDonald’s french fries and sugar in a 20-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew were among the displays that the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA spotlighted Saturday for its Healthy Kids Day.
The YMCA, and its counterparts across the nation, invited the public in to learn ways to develop healthier and active lifestyles.
More than 30 percent of Luzerne County children, in kindergarten through fourth grade, have body mass indexes in the 85th percentile or greater, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A healthy BMI range to achieve is 18.5 to 24.9. The BMI is a way to calculate a body’s fat content based on a person’s weight and height.
Being overweight can lead to health maladies such as diabetes, hypertension, heart and circulation problems, and respiratory problems.
Diane Hoover, with the YMCA’s Wellness Center, said many area residents think of the YMCA for only swimming or certain gym activities, but there are many more offerings, such as kids’ Zumbatonic classes. Getting active is only one step to becoming healthy; many vendors were on hand to educate families on nutrition, summer safety and drug awareness.
Wilkes University School of Pharmacy students provided information on nutrition, such as the fact that a 20-ounce Mountain Dew soda contains 77 grams of sugar. By comparison, one pouch of Capri Sun juice has 16 grams of sugar.
“Twenty grams is the recommended daily allowance for sugar,” said student Erin Hanley.
One large order of McDonald’s french fries contains 25 grams of fat and 500 calories, Henley said.
Camp Kresge representatives were on hand to provide information about its summer programs and financial aid options. Other displays stressed the importance of wearing bicycle helmets, ways to avoid dog bites, and drug and alcohol awareness.
Each child was given a T-shirt, a bag and a choice of healthy snacks, including pizza, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola.
Center Director Linda Reilly said a membership to the YMCA is affordable and scholarships are available to help families with the cost. “Many insurance plans will cover one membership to the YMCA,” she said.
Many new programs for children, senior citizens, and cancer survivors are being developed, she added.