Healthy U

Healthy U is a year-round, interactive health and wellness education program created by the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids to address the growing health disparities faced by urban children and families in the Grand Rapids community.

Healthy U is designed to inspire vulnerable children to become more physically active and make better nutrition choices.

Healthy U addresses disparities that include higher than average incidence of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes in the vulnerable populations that we serve.

Healthy U


School-aged youth (K-12) participate in fitness, nutrition, and character development principles, with a focus on increasing each child’s participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity in an effort to exceed the CDC’s recommendation that children spend a minimum of 50% of PE time engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity.

The program takes place during the school day, during critical after-school hours, and in the summer at more than 25 sites across greater Grand Rapids. In 2008, Healthy U was awarded the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Families Count Family Strengthening Award.


1. Increase the knowledge of vulnerable youth on the importance of physical activity and nutrition in a healthy lifestyle.

2. Promote lifelong behavior change that leads to decreased risk for chronic disease through healthy lifestyle choices.

3. Increase the amount of time that each participant spends in moderate to vigorous activity (to gain positive health benefits such as reduced stress and obesity prevention).

4. Increase each participant’s enjoyment of physical activity (which is a strong indicator that someone will choose to be active for life).


Independent evaluation shows that students in K-12 attending Healthy U spend a remarkable 75.4% of class time in moderate to vigorous physical activity, handily exceeding the 50% benchmark recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for physical education programs.

Healthy U serves over 6,000 school-age youth (K-12) in the Greater Grand Rapids community.


  • Aberdeen Elementary
  • Alger Middle School
  • Brookside Elementary
  • Buchanan Elementary
  • Burton Elementary
  • CA Frost Elementary
  • Campus Elementary
  • Coit Elementary
  • Dickinson Elementary
  • East Leonard Elementary
  • Ellington Academy
  • Godfrey Elementary
  • Grand Rapids University Prep Academy
  • Harrison Park Elementary
  • North Park Elementary
  • Palmer Elementary
  • Riverside Middle
  • Sibley Elementary
  • Visser Family YMCA Impact Afterschool Program
  • West Godwin Elementary
  • West Kellogsville Elementary
  • Westwood Middle School
  • Wyoming West Elementary

If you are interested in learning more, please send an email to or call us at 616.885.5912.