How many teaspoons of sugar are there in a can of Mountain Dew? If you chew tobacco will you have bad breath? Can you dig up a yucca plant and eat the root?
All these questions and more were answered last Saturday at Healthy Kids Day at the Prescott YMCA. As children walked into the building they were given a small backpack and a paper with a grid on it. Inside the gym several fun and educational booths about health, nutrition and exercise were set up. Some of them were quite creative, like how much sugar is there in the can of soda. There were cups of sugar on the table and each child was given a teaspoon to measure out how much sugar they thought was in various drinks. It made for a very visual illustration, and one that students are sure to remember next time they reach for a can of soda. (By the way, they said 17 teaspoons of sugar in the Mountain Dew.)
Each time the children visited a booth they got a star on their papers. When they accumulated 15 stars they earned the privilege to go behind the YMCA where there were Moon Bounces set up on the grass, in addition to several other booths. Boy Scout Troop 92 Scoutmaster David Chilicki had a table full of edible plants that grow in the wild. He peeled a Yucca root for kids to munch on, had some mint bush, wild onion, cattail, cactus, pine nuts and wild berries. Children were especially fascinated to see what the squirrels were digging for in the pinecones. (Turns out the squirrels have very good taste.)
Heritage Park Zoo was there with a bearskin, some javelin “fur,” (which most children guessed was porcupine), and information on upcoming events like Summer Zoo Camp and KidZoo. Two soccer groups were there, AYSO and Tivoli Soccer Club, giving out information on their upcoming seasons. Yavapai Regional Medical Center had reference books to give out listing different types of illnesses, symptoms, and how to keep healthy. They also had a very informative flyer on the effects Television has on children from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Prescott Alternative Transportation had information on their Safe Routes to School program, along with T-shirts, bike helmets, and bike bells. Kid Zaam Dentistry gave quick brushing instructions and goodie bags, and Good Guns Foundation had coloring books and spoke to the kids about gun safety in general. The Highlands Center for Natural History had information on their always-popular summer camps, and other events.
Healthy Kids Day is a national event, and YMCA’s from Alaska, Hawaii, and all across the United States participated. This year the YMCA partnered with Eli Lilly Company to offer Healthy Family Home, a free program to guide families toward healthier and more balanced lifestyles with family time and nutrition.