Physical, Healthy & Driven Program | YMCA Washington DC

Physical, Healthy & Driven

Busy schedules and life’s daily demands can make it difficult for parents to ensure that their children are practicing healthy habits on a regular basis.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington’s renowned PHD (Physical, Healthy & Driven) program is combating childhood obesity and teaching kids how to stay healthy for life. This program was put into action in 2004, just as sobering statistics on the region’s obesity epidemic were hitting the airwaves. Up to 70 percent of D.C. children do not meet recommended levels of physical activity, and more than 25 percent of children in the metropolitan Washington region are either overweight or obese. With challenges from increased TV and video game usage, lack of access to healthy foods, oversized portions, reduced recess time, and lack of sidewalks and safe parks, kids just aren’t getting the physical activity they need.


About the PHD Program

The PHD program is a nationally-recognized childhood obesity prevention initiative that has paved the way for our youth wellness programming and enabled us to become a national voice on childhood obesity. It even garnered the attention of First Lady Michelle Obama with a feature event on the White House lawn in 2009. It is designed for children ages 6-14 and combines assessment tools, fun games, exercises, nutrition education and family involvement to teach local children how to be healthy… and to inspire a love for it!

Over 200,000 local children have taken part in PHD through YMCA after-school programs, summer day camp, in-school programs, specialized events and well-being programs. With 41,290 kids inspired in 2014 alone, the awareness of childhood obesity is growing, as is the demand for engaging programs that will help kids develop and sustain a healthy lifestyle.


PHD Components


Basic health measures – blood pressure, body fat composition, muscular strength and endurance, cardio fitness, and flexibility – are evaluated throughout the program


Using everything from old-school playground games to innovative new equipment, PHD gets every kid moving.


Visual aids and creative lessons are used to teach kids about beneficial and harmful foods.


PHD encourages the whole family to get involved using a wellness newsletter featuring healthy recipes, fitness tips and family activities.


PHD’s traveling playground

There is no better way to get kids moving than by parking a playground in their front yards. The PHD on the Move Van allows the YMCA to bring opportunities for healthy play and wellness education right to the doorsteps of local children.

The PHD on the Move van is the region’s first traveling playground and was made possible by a unique partnership between the YMCA and CareFirst. The primary goal of the van is to broaden the impact of the YMCA’s PHD program by serving more children, especially those in urban neighborhoods lacking safe places to play.

The PHD On the Move van features wellness assessment stations, nutrition corner, exciting games and activities, playground equipment, family education materials and children’s wellness experts.

In 2014, the PHD on the Move van made 141 stops in the DC region, bringing healthy play to the doorsteps of 31,980 urban and suburban children.


To find PHD activities happening in your community, please call 202-232-6700!