Almost 2,000 Bay Area youth, ages 5 – 12, have logged more than 2.2 million minutes of physical activity this summer through the “Power Up Your Summer!” (PUYS) Challenge sponsored by The Network for a Healthy California—Children’s Power Play! Campaign (Network) in partnership with Mt. Diablo CARES.
“The youth in the Mt. Diablo CARES summer program have taken on the Network’s PUYS Challenge which encourages kids and their families to get at least 60 minutes of active play every day and eat more fruits and vegetables this summer,” said Tuline Baykal, Children’s Power Play! Campaign Manager, Network for a Healthy California.
The daily activity goal was achieved by the kids participating in both morning and afternoon group fitness programs across 15 Mt. Diablo CARES sites with activities including sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, running, stretching, soccer, football, kickball, basketball, swimming and walking.
The battle against childhood obesity is at its height in the summer months. Studies show that kids gain weight more than twice as fast during the summer as they do during the regular school year. Without the benefit of scheduled meals, snacks and recess provided during the school day, kids can quickly fall into a "summer slump" of unhealthy behaviors like continuous snacking and spending more time in front of the screen.
"Enrolling kids in a summer activity program is one of the best ways for parents to help their kids be active and eat healthy while school is out. These programs, like those offered through Mt. Diablo CARES, provide scheduled play and healthy snacks as well as a safe play for children to learn and grow while parents are at work," said Baykal.
The accomplishments of the youth who took part in this summer’s PUYS Challenge at Mt. Diablo CARES were noted with a celebration held on July 20 at Delta View Elementary School in Pittsburg. Nearly two hundred kids had fun participating in the many activities including a Nutrition Decathlon, Zumba, Yoga, Hula Hooping and taste testing from the local community garden.
California State Senator Mark Desauliner addressed the crowd of nearly 200 children and staff, reminding them just how important it is to eat healthy and stay active to live a long life. The attendees were wowed with performances by students of Hannah’s Dance Studio and East Bay Karate Do. With demonstrations of everything from break dancing and hip hop to martial arts, the performers really inspired the students to stay active.
Many community partners donated both time and prizes to make the celebration successful including, Wilson’s Dance Studio in Pittsburg, East Bay Karate DO in Pittsburg, Delta Bowl, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Counties, Kaiser Community Troupe, UCCE Contra Costa Master Gardener’s, Bay Point Community Garden and Contra Costa Health and Human Services.
As part of the Challenge, the Network also promotes services that help families that are struggling to put healthy food on the table. Mt. Diablo CARES offers free summer meal programs for kids to make sure they continue to eat healthy foods while school is out.
Summer isn’t over yet and there still is plenty of time and endless activities for children and families to get involved with. For a list of physical activity tips and recipes, go to www.cachampitonsforchange.net, or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/networkforahealthycalifornia.