Shrewsbury, NJ (June 17, 2015) – According to the National Summer Learning Association, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer months. And low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement.

This summer, The Community YMCA will play its part to prevent summer learning loss and encourage living healthy lifestyles among local children. Achieving a healthy lifestyle is particularly important during the summer months, when kids are vulnerable to not only forgetting what they’ve learned during the school year but also to excessive weight gain.

According to the YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot, parents prioritize finding enriching activities and ensuring that their kids don’t lose what they’ve learned during the school year over the summer. However, they may need help following through on these intentions to help avoid the “summer slide.”

“Without access to daily lessons, enrichment and exercise, kids are at risk of falling behind during the summer months,” said The Community YMCA President and CEO Rhonda Anderson. “This summer, we’re helping parents turn their good intentions into reality with programs designed to strengthen their kids’ minds and bodies and keep them on track for good health and academic success year-round.”

The Y and the AAP’s Institute recommend families follow the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards for afterschool, summer and preschool programs, which emphasize the importance of fruits, veggies, water and low- or non-fat beverages, as well as limiting screen time and being physically active.

“We know parents want to do everything they can to prepare their kids for the next school year,” said Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Our job is to help families recognize they have the power to keep their kids healthy and ready to learn by keeping them focused, encouraging them to eat healthy, exercise and trading their tablets for books.”

Concerned about the health and achievement gaps many children face, particularly during the summer, the Y – a leading nonprofit in youth development – recently launched a national campaign, Hop the Gap, to bring more awareness to the issue and how the Y can help.

In Monmouth County, The Community YMCA is helping more than 1,500 kids hop the gap each day by encouraging reading, physical activity, healthy eating and core values at summer camps and programs. “Engaging them academically, physically, socially and emotionally helps each child reach their optimal potential – helping them realize who they are and all that they can achieve,” Anderson said.

Every day, the Y plays a key role in helping youth to overcome gaps by providing a safe, nurturing place to learn, stay healthy and build relationships. Families interested in summer programs that help their children overcome barriers to achieve more, can contact the Y at 732.671.5505 or visit our Hop the Gap page.

The YMCA’s Family Health Snapshot was conducted online by Toluna Research between March 9 and 16, 2015. Participants were 1,198 U.S. parents of children ages 5 to 12.