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APA-YMCA Partnership Helps Families Focus on Healthy Lifestyles and Positions Psychologists as Experts at Change

July 20, 2009 — The American Psychological Association, APA Division 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice) and the National Council of the YMCAs of the USA (YMCA) are partnering to help people make healthy lifestyle choices for their mind and body.

APA's public education campaign goal of informing the public about the importance of psychology and mind/body health makes this relationship a natural fit. Both APA's Mind/Body Health and the YMCA's Activate America and Healthy Family Home public education campaigns focus on the importance of lifestyle and behavior to physical and mental health.

The APA public education campaign brings psychology to the public by having psychologists provide free workshops using the Mind/Body Health Toolkit, which includes pre-packaged presentations on stress, obesity and heart disease for use by APA members. Similarly, the YMCA is engaged in positive outreach messaging through its public education campaign.

Partnering with the YMCA provides APA and psychology with opportunities to reach large audiences with our public education campaign messages. The 2,663 YMCAs in the U.S. serve more than 20.2 million people each year. Additionally, there are 67.7 million households and 33.7 million children 14 and under who live within three miles of a YMCA. The partnership with the YMCA furthers APA's public education campaign goal of psychologists reaching the public and spreading the word about the connection between behaviors and health.

On April 17th, Michael Ritz, PhD, and Jana Martin, PhD, public education coordinators in California held a pilot workshop on healthy lifestyles for families in conjunction with the Y's Healthy Kids Day. Their presentation focused on changing behavior to ensure healthy eating and activity for adolescents. The workshop targeted parents and included take-home activities for children and families, as well as tip sheets and a resource list of books and Web sites on children and weight.

YMCA conducted a similar pilot this summer in Maryland. Feedback from both the California and Maryland pilot programs will help shaped a final workshop that is now available to psychologists who are involved in their state psychological association public education campaign.

New additions to the Mind/Body Health toolkit, developed by the APA and YMCA are now available!!! You can access them through the PEC network social media site, www.apapecnetwork.org under the resources section. You must be a member of the PEC network social media site in order to access the materials.  If you have not yet signed on to the site, here is a link: http://www.apapecnetwork.org/?xgi=1bNKIUC.

The materials are structured around the newly developed workshop, “Making Healthy Choices for Your Family.”  These materials are considered to be additions to the Mind/Body Health toolkit. You can save them directly to your computer, a CD or to a thumb drive such as the one in the Mind/Body Health toolkit. So, now you can talk to your local YMCAs about offering workshops or programs not only on the existing stress, heart disease, obesity and resilience topics, but, this new presentation addressing family behaviors and lifestyles and creating a healthy home.

These new materials can be used beyond YMCA facilities. The APA and YMCA agree that opportunities might come up through local groups such as the PTA, rotary club and other community organizations. So, we recommend that psychologists talk to their local YMCA to identify an appropriate YMCA staffer, such as a fitness director, to team up and co-present. Or the psychologist could do the presentation and have the YMCA representative on hand for a question and answer session. Having both the APA and the local YMCA names on a flyer or in a promotional email carries a lot of credibility and will help attract attendees.

Below is a list of all 22 items available at www.apapecnetwork.org. So we can track your efforts and the effectiveness of the program, please inform me of any programs that you run including the 8number of attendees. For further information or if you have any questions contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 631-979-2640.   

Peter S. Kanaris, Ph.D.
NYSPA PEC Coordinator

YMCA Workshop Materials: 22 items total

Resources for Psychologists
Discussion Guide
Follow Up Evaluation
Pledge Cards
Resources for Psychologists

Event Handouts and Materials
Healthy Living Worksheet - Drawing
Healthy Living Worksheet - Family Planning
Healthy Living Worksheet - List
Workshop Evaluation Form
PowerPoint Presentation
Easel Sign

Resources for Parents and Families
Making Healthy Choices for Your Child and Family Tip Sheet
Obesity Fact Sheet
Resources for Parents

YMCA Templates:
Black and White Template for YMCA Events
APA YMCA Cork BW Template 1
APA YMCA Cork BW Template 2
APA YMCA Gen BW Template 3
APA YMCA Gen BW Template 4
Color Template for YMCA Events
APA YMCA Cork Template 1
APA YMCA Gen Template 2
APA YMCA Gen Template 3
Template Marketing Flyers
Generic Flyer
Cork Flyer