How It Works

Healthy U is a behavior change program that will help prevent obesity in children by delivering nutrition education, physical activity and parental involvement in the following settings:

  • Preschool
  • Afterschool
  • School-based


The preschool CATCH curriculum is designed to nurture a love of physical activity, provide an introduction to classroom-based gardening and nutrition, and encourage healthy eating in children ages 3-5. Preschool children are motivated to walk, run, jump, dance and move their whole bodies while playing and having fun!

Healthy U is implemented in 80 YMCA early childhood/preschool sites reaching over 4,500 3-5 year olds 


The afterschool CATCH curriculum is cost-effective and proven to have a positive impact on children ages 5-13. It delivers coordinated messages about the importance of physical activity and nutrition. It also encourages parents and caregivers to help children learn behaviors to lead a healthier life.

Healthy U is implemented in over 370 YMCA afterschool programs reaching over 18,000 children in grades K-8. 


The elementary school CATCH program brings schools, families and communities together to teach children how to be healthy for a lifetime. The healthy behaviors are reinforced through a coordinated approach in the classroom, cafeteria and physical education class.

Healthy U is being piloted in 10 public elementary schools in 2012-2013.  Each elementary school is partnered with a local YMCA for technical assistance and direction.  The program will expand to 30 schools in 2013-2014 and 50 schools in 2014-2015. 

2012-2013 pilot schools and YMCA partners:

Catherine E. Doyle School, Woodridge (Meadowlands Area YMCA)

Evergreen Elementary School, Plainfield (Plainfield YMCA)

Jefferson School, Summit (Summit Area YMCA)

Lindenwold Schoool, Lindenwold (YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties)

Marshall Elementary, South Orange (Metro YMCA of the Oranges)

Roosevelt Elementary School, Rahway  (YMCA of Eastern Union County)

Sabater Elementary School, Vineland (Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA)

South Mountain School, South Orange (Metro YMCA of the Oranges)

Toms River South, South Toms River (Ocean County YMCA)

Van Derveer School, Somerville (Somerset Valley YMCA)

If you are a Superintendent/Principal interested in bringing Healthy U to your school, contact us.