The stone walls of the Greater Pittston YMCA were bursting with activity last Saturday as the community was invited to come in and check out the wide range of amenities available during the annual Healthy Family Day.
Healthy Family Day is geared to all members of the community and surrounding areas, said Mary Ann Dziak, executive director of the Greater Pittston YMCA. The free event ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“People often think of the YMCA’s weight room or pool,” Dziak said. “We also have personal trainers, nutrition counseling and an in-house nutritionist.”
With Luzerne County’s child obesity rate hovering around 18-percent, Emily Richters, RDN with the Greater Pittston YMCA, said more children are developing Type 2 diabetes.
“By 2030 nearly half of the national population will be obese if we do not change,” Dziak said.
Richters advises families to take advantage of the local farmers markets and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their daily diets. Ditch the sugary sodas and juices.
“Milk and water should be your go-to drinks,” Richters said.
Start making time for family dinners at home. This will give the family time to bond over a healthy home-made meal and discuss their day with each other, Richters said.
Living a healthy lifestyle goes beyond eating nutritious foods and getting the right about of exercise, it is creating a balance of a healthy body and mind, Dziak said. That is why the focus of the event is centered around families.
“We learn by example,” Dziak said. “If your parents sat in front of a TV a lot you will too.”
To break the cycle of a stationary lifestyle, spinning and Zumba classes were just some of the activities for families to check out. Dziak said in the morning they had a cancer survivor speaker, who noted the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Visitors were able to sample some healthy snacks provided by h.u.m.a.n., a healthy vending machine franchise, learn about harmful chemicals found in every day products and alternative choices, and discuss drug and alcohol awareness with Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug Services Inc.
Some activities spilled out into a parking lot across the street. A dunk tank and obstacle course offered a challenge to those willing to accept.
Rebekka Parry, of Pittston, and her six children, ranging in age from 5 months to 10 years old, were finishing up the obstacle course.
“This is a great thing to do on a Saturday,” she said.
Her children enjoyed the arts and crafts offered but were really looking forward to swimming.
Sam Evanina, 16, a volunteer at the Greater Pittston YMCA, said she has “seen many happy people” coming through the YMCA.
The Greater Pittston YMCA’s Summer Program, classes and other offerings can be found at www.greaterpittstonymca.org.