Fayette County

Fun Fest aims to keep kids moving

With arms stretched out as though he were about to take flight, Hanon Scoggins, 4, concentrated as he walked across the balance beam.

"It was kind of tricky," he said after jumping down from the beam inches off the floor.

He was among 2,500 parents and children who participated Sunday afternoon in the YMCA Healthy Kids Day Fun Fest at Nutter Field House near Commonwealth Stadium.

In an effort to combat childhood and adult obesity, the YMCA of Central Kentucky encouraged families to get active together.

"Kentucky is the No. 1 sedentary state in the nation; We don't move," said Jeannie Thé, associate executive director of the Beaumont Centre Family YMCA. "So we're trying to let kids know that physical activity doesn't have to be punishment and hard work ... you can enjoy it and have fun."

Childhood obesity has grown during the last 40 years — Kentucky is ranked third in the nation — and leads to such conditions as elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and early onset diabetes.

Children need at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity, Thé said.

The afternoon's activities included relay races, potato sack relays, soccer, baseball pitch, gymnastics and a "hoop hop" to show off hula hoop skills.

The Kentucky Army National Guard had a 120-foot-long inflatable obstacle course with a tunnel, a rope climb up a steep 30-foot incline and a slide as the big finish.

Chao Li helped son Michael, 2, take a few golf putts. Chao Li acknowledged that Michael is not one to sit around. "I have trouble catching up with him," he said.

Meanwhile, Jacob Clemmons, 6, had no trouble keeping an orange hula hoop twirling around his waist.

"He could be in Ripley's Believe It Or Not! for going the longest," said his mother, Jolie Clemmons of Lexington. "It just comes natural to him."