Category: healthy living

November 12, 2015

Healthy Holiday Eating

Healthy living can be challenging in our fast-paced world of convenience. Making healthy living decisions during the holidays while having increased (yummy) food choices and visiting with family can be even more so. On average, people gain 5-10 pounds during the holiday season. At the Y, we are committed to helping members and the community achieve and/or maintain their health goals during the holidays.

Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge

All members are invited to join our Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge November 16 – December 20. Prizes will be $10 in Y Bucks for all who maintain and $20 in Y Bucks for those that lose weight. Stop by the Welcome Center at your Y to learn more.

Here are some simple health tips to consider this holiday season:

  • Substitute ingredients for your favorite holiday meals and beverages (Use applesauce instead of butter for baking, drink egg nog with one part low-fat milk).
  • Stay hydrated and drink more water.
  • When purchasing ingredients, compare nutrition labels. Choose lower sodium options.
  • Be mindful at holiday parties by looking at all food options before filling your plate.
  • Remember to stay physically active and think outside the box (all activity counts!).

In addition, the YMCA offers services and programs year round to support you in reaching your health goals. Below are just a few services and programs we offer. 

Nutrition Consultations

YMCA dietitians will work with you to develop healthy habits through nutrition support. Our team will schedule appointments at your neighborhood YMCA and work with you to create individual nutrition plans, discuss how to manage chronic diseases or illnesses, and achieve personal health goals. Members receive a free 20-minute consultation with a Registered Dietitian.

Black Hog Farms Healthy Deliveries

Do you need a turkey for Thanksgiving or a ham for Christmas? With Black Hog Farms customizable deliveries, you are sure to find fresh food that will fit into your family. Order your holiday meal ingredients from and it will be conveniently delivered to your neighborhood YMCA. Members do not pay a delivery fee. Contact: info@blackhogfarm.com or 904.484.6931

ActivTrax

Join the YMCA and have the opportunity to meet with a personal trainer who will set you up with ActivTrax, a customized health and wellness system that provides guidance, tracks progress, and challenges you to meet your health goals.

Healthy Living Centers

The Healthy Living Centers are the first of their kind on the First Coast, bringing medically integrated programs from Baptist Health into the Y and making these programs more accessible to the community.

Visit your neighborhood YMCA to talk to a health professional about what will work for you or contact Sara Glenn for more information: sglenn@firstcoastymca.org or 904.265.1804

Healthy living can be challenging in our fast-paced world of convenience. Making healthy living decisions during the holidays while having increased (yummy) food choices and visiting with family can be even more so. On average, people gain 5-10 pounds during the holiday season. At the Y, we are committed to…


November 5, 2015

Preventing Diabetes

More than 86 million people have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, yet only 9 million people are aware they have this condition. To sustain a healthy lifestyle, it helps to know your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

At the Y, we support the health and well-being of people of every age and background with programs that help prevent chronic disease. One such program, the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, helps people achieve a healthy weight, increase their physical activity and make healthier food choices to reduce the risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. More than 180 Ys across the country, including the First Coast YMCA, offer the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Ask your Y’s staff about this and other chronic disease prevention programs so you can lead a healthier, happier life.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and the Y recommends you and your family follow these healthy living tips from the American Diabetes Association to reduce the risk for chronic disease:

Start a Weight Loss Plan: Losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference. Start by setting realistic goals that work for you. To stay on target, keep a record of everything you eat and all of your physical activity.

Build Healthier Meals: Plan out your weekly meals to save time, money and stress. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to your shopping list. Keep healthy staples like brown rice and whole grain pastas on hand for healthier meal options. Need more guidance or a grocery store tour? We have nutrition services available at all Ys on the First Coast.

Stay Active: Aim to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Add in strength training to build muscle and make bones stronger (with more muscle mass you burn more calories, even when you are at rest). You can join a Y fitness class or lift weights at home using weights or elastic resistance bands.

More than 86 million people have prediabetes, a condition that puts them at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, yet only 9 million people are aware they have this condition. To sustain a healthy lifestyle, it helps to know your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. At the Y, we…


September 26, 2015

YMCA of Florida’s First Coast Named Duval Health Hero

First Coast YMCA honored for efforts to prevent childhood obesity

Photo courtesy: Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition

Photo courtesy: Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 21, 2015 – The Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (HJCOPC) honored the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast with the 2015 “Heart of the Community” Organizational Leadership Award. The First Coast YMCA joined 14 other local organizations recognized as Duval County Health Heroes at the “Celebrating Healthy Kids and Active Communities Awards Breakfast” hosted by the HJCOPC Friday, Sept. 11. The annual gathering commemorates National Childhood Obesity Prevention Awareness Month and provides a forum to honor 15 local organizations and individuals for their commitment to helping children grow up healthy throughout Duval County.

“Obesity puts our children at risk for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions that they shouldn’t have to worry about.” said Eric Mann, President and CEO of the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “In an effort to strengthen our community and help all children achieve and lead healthy lives, the Y is committed to providing direct services, adopting policies and standards, and creating environments that combat and prevent childhood obesity.”

The Y helps to prevent childhood obesity through its before and afterschool programs, which feature the evidence-based program designed to promote healthy eating and increased physical activity, Youth Fit For Life (YFFL). In partnership with Americorps members, the Y provides participants with a 12-week program that includes three weekly nutrition lessons and physical activity to more than 2,700 children ages 5-13 participate each year. In 2014, 66 percent of participants entered the program with a BMI indicating a healthy weight, while 18 percent were overweight and 16 percent of participants were considered obese. By the end of the program, participants considered to be at a healthy weight increased by 7 percent, while the number of overweight or obese participants decreased by 4 percent and 3 percent respectively.

“We are seeing measurable changes that add up to a better quality of life for the children and families in our community, said Jennifer Martin, Vice President of Healthy Living, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. “By integrating programs and standards that help to prevent childhood obesity into Y programs and services, we are effectively working towards our goal of building a healthier, stronger First Coast.”

Each year, more than 6,000 children benefit from Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards implemented in Y summer and after school programs as well as YMCA Kidzones, and Tiger Academy, the YMCA’s charter school. HEPA standards create a healthier environment by targeting areas including healthy eating, physical activity, role modeling and family engagement.

The First Coast YMCA creates an environment supportive of childhood obesity prevention through a variety of programs and events. Y vertical gardens projects, a program that served more than 70 youth at the 21st Century Summer Camp at Jacksonville Heights and continues to grow across Northeast Florida, teaches students about plant biology and nutrition as they build and engineer vertical tower gardens. Each year, thousands of local children participate in Y youth sports – a starting point for developing healthy habits. As the partner of the First Coast Kids Triathlon, the Y trained 255 young athletes at local branches to compete with more than 2,500 at this year’s event. Annual events including Healthy Kids Day, which reaches more than 5,000 local parents and youth, and the Back to School Bash, which provides families with services including sports physicals, nutrition education and other programs, offer resources to improve the health of the entire family.

First Coast YMCA honored for efforts to prevent childhood obesity JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 21, 2015 – The Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (HJCOPC) honored the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast with the 2015 “Heart of the Community” Organizational Leadership Award. The First Coast YMCA joined 14 other local organizations recognized…


Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.