YMCA Survey Finds U.S. Parents Not Making Kids’ Health Top Priority

As parents face financial hurdles to keep kids active, YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day™ makes physical activity easy, accessible for the entire family

CHICAGO (April 13, 2011) – Despite growing rates of childhood obesity and chronic illness among the nation’s kids, only 15 percent of American parents rank overall physical health as the top concern for their children, according to national survey findings released today by YMCA of the USA (Y-USA). The YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot also found that 74 percent of children ages 5 to 10 do not get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day.

On April 16, the Y, a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day™– an event that reminds parents that health and well-being is vital to ensuring that children reach their full potential, and that being active can be as simple as making a play date with their kids. Healthy Kids Day is the nation’s largest health day for kids, celebrated by more than 1,600 Ys across the country.

“The Y knows parents struggle to find the time and resources to incorporate physical activity and healthier habits into their kids’ daily routine,” says Lynne Vaughan, senior vice president and chief innovation officer at Y-USA. “But getting active doesn’t have to require a lot of time and resources. The Y created Healthy Kids Day to encourage active play and inspire a lifetime love of physical activity that’s easy and accessible for today’s families.”

Economy Taking Its Toll on Extracurricular Activities
According to the survey of more than 1,600 parents with children between the ages of 5 and 10, the economy has created financial challenges and time constraints that make it difficult for many families to carve out time for physical activity and to provide a healthy home environment. In fact, 52 percent of parents surveyed said they’d been forced to cut back to some degree on their children’s afterschool activities – key ways for children to get active playtime – in an effort to save money.

The YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot also found:

  • 74 percent of parents opt to spend family time with their kids sitting in front of the TV.
  • 42 percent of parents say growing technological distractions – social networks, computer games and cell phones – are getting in the way of active play, although 53 percent admit they spend leisure time with their children on the computer and playing video games.
  • 58 percent of children ages 5 to 10 spend less than four days a week playing outdoors.
  • Parents are more concerned with their children’s financial security (42 percent), education (17 percent), and moral and ethical values (17 percent) than physical activity.

“The Y is committed to improving our nation’s health and well-being,” says Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of Y-USA. “We know it takes a collective effort to combat the growing rates of obesity and chronic illness in this country. Through Healthy Kids Day, the Y provides hundreds of thousands of families the resources and education they need to start making healthier choices at home, so they can lead longer, healthier and happier lives.” 

YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day is supported by the Dodge brand, PepsiCo, Sam’s Club and NBA/WNBA FIT. Healthy Kids Day will take place at Ys across the country. To learn more or to find a local Healthy Kids Day event, visit http://www.ymca.net/healthy-kids-day/.

The YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot was conducted online by Toluna Research (www.toluna-group.com), between Feb. 9 and 15, 2011. Participants were 1,630 U.S. parents of children ages 5 to 10. 

For more information, or to see additional survey results, please click here.

###

About YMCA of the USA
YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the Y, one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net

Contact:
Mamie Moore
YMCA of the USA
312-419-8325
mamie.moore@ymca.net

Wednesday, April 13, 20111

Copyright © 2014 YMCA of the USA. All rights reserved.
The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.