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Family Y Steps Up Game Against Childhood Obesity

WESTPORT, Conn. – The Westport Weston Family Y is taking its commitment to keep kids healthy to a higher level. Along with other YMCAs across the country, the Family Y is adopting new "healthy living" standards in its child-care programs, set forth by the Partnership for a Healthier America .

Together with First Lady Michelle Obama, the Partnership for a Healthier America is a nonprofit that works to reduce childhood obesity. These new guidelines will help ensure more children have access to healthy food and physical activity.

"The Family Y's Early Learning Program, Kinderkids and School Age programs are dedicated to supporting and implementing new policy changes to reflect the new healthy living standards," said Family Y Senior Director Tasha Dennison.

The following are new guidelines that will be adopted as soon as possible:

? Effective in January, prepackaged snacks will be phased-out and substituted with healthy alternatives;

? Only whole wheat breads and pastas will be provided;

? Children in all programs will be presented with a variety of health snack choices, including, but not limited to, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables;

? Teachers and children will walk to nearby places as opposed to taking the bus;

? Teachers will make educating parents about these healthy living standards a priority by sharing articles and knowledge about the reasons behind the guidelines and by providing parents with resources and healthy alternatives.

The Family Y has several practices already in place in its child-care programs that promote healthy living. Among them, children are not offered juice. Instead, they are offered milk and water with snacks and meals. Video game and TV usage is not permitted in any program. However, interactive videos games are encouraged, if appropriate.

Also, children enrolled in these programs are encouraged to take part in the Y's swimming, dance, gymnastics, yoga, karate and other classes. And, mothers of infants are encouraged to breast feed and are provided with a private area to do so.

"Our role in supporting this nationwide campaign to reduce childhood obesity is a critical part in fostering a healthier future for the children in our care, and through them, every member of their family," said Family Y CEO Rob Reeves.

To learn more about the new guidelines and the Partnership for a Healthier America, visit the nonprofit's website . For more information about the Family Y's Early Learning and School Age programs, visit the Y's website, or contact Tasha Dennison at 203-226-8981, Ext. 113, or tdennison@westporty.org .

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