The Gateway Family YMCA Kicks Off The Lunchbox Challenge at Healthy U Day

UNION COUNTY, NJ – The Gateway Family YMCA joins YMCA throughout New Jersey in celebrating the annual Healthy U Fall kickoff in its youth programs on October 25th. The Healthy U program is the result of a collaboration between The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance.

The Gateway Family YMCA’s local kickoff event featured healthy activities focused on nutrition and active fun. The Lunchbox Challenge ask students, and their families, to take a close look at the food choices they make in their “lunches” as an opportunity to learn and practice making smart healthy eating choices.

Healthy U’s goal is to promote healthy behavior and to prevent childhood obesity through more physical activity, family involvement and nutrition education. In New Jersey, one out of every three school age children is either overweight or obese putting them at risk of developing serious health problems later in life. In Healthy U research, participating children and families report that they are eating more fruits and vegetables, and consuming fewer processed and sugary foods. They are also spending more time being physically active and less time in front of screens.

“Celebrating Healthy U is so important to raise the awareness of improving the health and well-being of children,” said Krystal R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Healthy U has positively impacted over 96,000 children ages 3 to 14 at 480 YMCA preschool and afterschool sites and 90 school sites statewide.” “Healthy U is a unique asset to YMCA childcare education programming,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO.

Since Healthy U’s inception in 2008, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has invested more than $4.7 million to sustain the program through 2019. “All evidence indicates that well-nourished active children are more prepared to learn and thrive. We are thrilled to have The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey as a strong partner,” said Sue Cornell, Healthy U Director.

The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Gateway Family YMCA impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faith or incomes.

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y doesn’t just strengthen bodies – it strengthens people, families and communities.

For more information about programs and services provided by The Gateway Family YMCA, please visit or contact the Elizabeth Branch at 908-355-9622, Five Points Branch 908-688-9622, Rahway Branch 732-388-0057 or the Wellness Center Branch 908-349-9622.

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