National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month: Focusing on Healthy Living

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

With September being National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, it’s important for members of all ages to embrace a healthy lifestyle. At the Y, there are a wide variety of classes available for every member of your family. From adult group exercise classes to youth sports, and everything in between, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your family’s needs and busy schedule.

Here are some great tips to help your family incorporate healthy eating and regular physical activity into your fall schedules:

Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family, consider choosing a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. Remember to keep full water bottles available in the car and your children’s backpacks.

Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.

Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-on-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.

Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).

Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night. Adults should strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

If you’re looking for other ways to keep your children active, the Y’s youth sports programs are a great way to stay fit and have fun at the same time! Registration is currently underway for the Y’s youth basketball program. Open to kids in preschool through high school, the Y’s basketball program teaches kids the fundamentals of the game and the importance of teamwork. Register today and participate in our free clinics to gear up for the upcoming basketball season!

For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active lifestyle or for more information on our youth basketball program, visit or contact the sports director at your local branch.

Galowich and Smith Family YMCAs:
Michael Taylor
[email protected]
(815) 744-3939, ext. 307

C.W. Avery Family YMCA:
Maria Romero
[email protected]
(815) 267-8600, ext. 217

Morris Community YMCA:
Ken Iverson
[email protected]
(815) 513-8080, ext. 512

Q&A with Coach Pat Sullivan

sully_webOn July 12, Pat Sullivan will bring his famous one-day basketball clinic to the Smith Family YMCA in his hometown of Joliet. Sullivan is a Hall of Famer and former University of St. Francis basketball coach who has more than 500 victories under his belt. We recently had a chance to catch up with Sully and ask him a few things about his camp: 

The Y: This is your first time teaching camp at the Y. Are you as excited as we are for this opportunity?

Coach Sullivan: Absolutely. I’ve done camps throughout our county, and in Belgium, Greece and Austria. I have lots of experience doing these camps and hope to provide the kids at the Y with a great clinic.

Tell us a little bit about the clinic. What kind of things do you teach?

We’re totally focused on fundamentals. I’ve always felt that in the camps, the most important thing to give the kids is the fundamental skills. We begin with balance—starting, stopping, and pivoting. I believe it’s the lost art of basketball. Dribbling, passing, shooting—all of these skills emanate from balance and footwork. For each skill, we teach for 10 to 15 minutes and then drill for 10 to 15 minutes.

What will kids benefit from the most in your camp? 

Without question, it’s the fundamentals. We feel it’s our obligation to teach the fundamentals. You’d be amazed how many coaches don’t teach balance and footwork.

Have you ever had any well-known players or coaches attend camp? 

Of course. [Current LA Clippers head coach] Doc Rivers came to camp. Jerome Whitehead, who played at Marquette University. We’ve been blessed to have some very good players in our camps over the years. [Former Utah Jazz head coach] Jerry Sloan. These guys would come and teach. Some great people as well as outstanding players.

Designed for kids, grades 3-8, Pat Sullivan’s co-ed basketball clinic will cost $65 for community members, $20 for YMCA Program Members and $10 for YMCA Full Members.

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