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What is the Healthy U Program?

The Healthy U program is made possible by a grant from the Horizon Foundation. There are three components to the grant — The Healthy U Afterschool program, The Healthy U Early Childhood Education Program, and the Healthy U School based program.

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The program uses the CATCH Curriculum to educate and promote healthy eating and increased physical activity. CATCH was developed as a result of one of the largest research based program.
 
The after school program has just completed its fourth year. This program, as all the Healthy U Programs, uses the CATCH Curriculum to promote physical activity and healthy eating among youth 3 -13 years old. The goal is to reduce and prevent obesity in youth. Over 370 YMCA afterschool childcare programs have implemented this curriculum into their daily program impacting approximately 18,000 youth and their families. The program curriculum s delivered to children during the afterschool care hours. Children experience moderate to vigorous physical activities and weekly nutrition lesson and activities.
 
HU Preschool will be launched this fall in 80 YMCA preschool sites to over 4500 three – five year olders. The program has the same philosophy and goals as the HU Afterschool with age appropriate activities and lesson plans. Preschool youth in the YMCA programs will experience games and physical activities that provide an environment for success in skill development and exercise. Nutrition lessons are taught through fun circle time activities and exploration activities. This program also provides parents with valuable tip and suggestions for use at home.
 
The Healthy U School Based program will be piloted in 10 schools in the state this school year. This program helps school incorporate the CATCH curriculum in Physical Education, the classroom setting, the cafeteria, and throughout the school community. The philosophy and goals is to promote and educate while creating an environment for healthy living. The program also provides support to families for making good choices and lifestyle changes.
 
  • Prevent and reduce obesity in children ages 3-13 through improved physical activity and nutrition behaviors, and strong parental involvement.
  • Increase the diversity of student and staff participants.
  • Build community capacity for obesity prevention at the YMCA, preschools and schools through continued leadership and training by the YMCA and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.
  • Programmatically and financially sustain the Healthy U Program.
 
A coordinated approach to child health
This is one of the most effective programs for developing optimum habits for physical activity and healthy eating in a fun, educational environment. This curriculum has already been successfully implemented in thousands of schools and after-school activities across the country and has been scientifically proven to work. For more information on this program, visit the CATCH website at http://www.catchtexas.org.
 
 
All YMCA staff in preschool and our afterschool care sites receive an initial one day (8 hour training) to learn how to implement CATCH effectively. This training includes classroom management in Physical education, organization, leading games and activities, as well as the delivery of nutritional lessons. Staff receive further booster training throughout the year. There are over 60 Master trainers who have been trained to deliver this training to NJ YMCA staff.
Healthy U School teams are made up of six representatives who complete CATCH elementary training. This is a one day training that reviews the components and philosophy of CATCH while providing methods for integrating the curriculum onto their school community and making their school a Healthy U community.
 
 
This Healthy U initiative is monitored and measured to determine positive changes in healthy eating and increases in moderate to physical activity through student self-reporting surveys and activity observations.
The school based programs will also use “FitnessGram” to measure improvements in student fitness level and BMI.
 
 



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