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NJ Celebrates National Minority Health Month

April 3, 2017

As the Executive Director of the New Jersey Office of Minority and Multicultural Health (OMMH), Dr. Carolyn Daniels, D.H.Sc., M.Ed., is on a mission—to foster accessible and high-quality programs and policies that help minorities in New Jersey achieve optimal health, dignity, and independence. Since she joined the New Jersey Department of Health in 2011, she and her strong and mighty team of five have focused on the monumental tasks of eliminating health disparities, removing barriers to care and ensuring that cultural, linguistic and health literacy appropriate care is provided to all racial/ethnic groups in the state. April is National Minority Health Month and this year’s theme is Bridging Health Equity Across Communities. “It’s a very exciting time of the year for us beginning with a proclamation from the Governor’s Office,” said Dr. Daniels. During the month, NJ’s OMMH office will join forces with its long-time partners the American Heart Association […]

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24 Restaurants Participate in Vineland’s First Healthy Dining Week

April 3, 2017

Healthy choices were on the dinner menu for South Jersey residents as Live Healthy Vineland (LHV) hosted its inaugural Healthy Dining Week during March 6 – 12, 2017 at 24 different restaurants. As one component of LHV’s Healthy Food Network, the Healthy Dining Initiative is an effort to promote healthy lifestyle choices by focusing on behavioral changes at retail food establishments. “We want families to see the healthy choices available at a variety of establishments,” said David Calderetti, project director for NJPHK-Vineland. Residents were encouraged to support local businesses who joined in the Healthy Dining Initiative. Each participating restaurant offered healthy dining specials on their menus. While dining, customers found table toppers with information on healthy options; placemats with games for children to play and learn about healthier food choices; and menu stickers indicating healthy items offered. The following restaurants participated in Healthy Dining Week: IHOP Friends and Family Diner […]

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New Brunswick’s ‘March Snackness’ Gives Healthy Snacks a Competitive Edge

April 3, 2017

      “As the NCAA tournament (March Madness) began last year, I thought to myself, how can I tie this awesome event into our PE/Health curriculum in 2017?” That was the question educator Steven Louka wanted to answer to help his students find a creative way to eat healthy foods and exercise. As the supervisor of the physical education, health, and wellness department for New Brunswick schools, Louka began to share his tournament-style competition with others and received positive feedback and encouragement to move forward with the program. “The premise of this competition is to get our students to realize how easy and fun eating healthy can be. There’s a wide variety of healthy and affordable snack options,” Louka said. Louka worked with FoodCorps service member Hayley Klein to develop rules and regulations for the competition. In true tournament fashion, classes from grades 3 to 7 competed against each […]

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National Public Health Week: April 3 – 9

April 3, 2017

The U.S. ranks 34th globally in life expectancy. National Public Health Week, an initiative of the American Public Health Association (APHA), is focused on creating the healthiest nation in one generation. It is an opportunity to consider the health needs of our cities, towns, and communities and reflect on how we as individuals can contribute to improving our own health and the health of our families and neighbors. Three National Public Health Week mandates mirror the priorities of New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids. Give everyone a choice of safe, healthy food Make healthy choice the easy choice Build a nation of safe, healthy communities The APHA suggests numerous ways in which individuals can advocate for health: Support menu labeling. Having the calories and fat content on the menu enables consumers to make healthy choices. Ask a local restaurant to consider making nutrition content available to patrons. Support taxes on […]

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Get Healthy Camden Leads Community Health Feedback Sessions

April 3, 2017

How can Camden improve its overall health? That was the discussion topic for 30 representatives of faith-based organizations who came together to share their suggestions with Get Healthy Camden (GHC) and Camden Coalition of Health Providers (Camden Coalition). During the meeting held at Kaighn Avenue Baptist Church on February 27th, Cooper’s Ferry and GHC project manager Val Galarza provided a brief background about Get Healthy Camden, and Camden Coalition program assistant Soley Berrios explained the next steps for the Faith in Prevention organization. “It’s crucial that we hear direct feedback from the community about the important issues affecting them daily and how Camden can become a healthier city,” said Galarza. Participants were asked to share the changes they had made in their respective congregations and to give feedback on the proposed plans for improvement in Camden’s health initiatives. Attendees were divided into breakout groups to share suggestions for improvements in four […]

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Camden Families Have the “Healthy” Time of Their Lives

April 3, 2017

Justin Spencer-Linzie (far right) poses for a photo with some Frost Valley campers Imagine a no-cost weekend health retreat with your family at a 5,000-acre camp in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. Cell phones and other technology is banned. In exchange, families can spend the day hiking, zip-lining through the woods, swimming, boating, practicing archery, sitting around the campfire, stargazing, enjoying healthy meals and learning how to prepare them. About 75 individuals from Camden were able to enjoy such a two-night weekend last year at Frost Valley YMCA. The healthy family weekend retreat provides people of all ages and abilities with enriching, even life-altering, outdoor experiences, access to nature, adventure, environmental education, and fun. Justin Spencer-Linzie, Director of Community Youth Programs at the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties, and Valeria Galarza, Senior Project Manager with Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, accompanied each group of Camden families on their weekend health […]

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NJPHK Celebrates National Nutrition Month — Put Your Best Fork Forward

March 2, 2017

Just when many of us have begun backsliding on our New Year’s resolution of eating healthier, March’s National Nutrition Month serves as an opportunity for us to refuel and refocus on eating right and developing better diets.   This year’s theme is “Put Your Best Forward”, which acts as a reminder that each bite counts. Also, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is a great source for tips to get you started on a better and more balanced diet. Below are just a few suggestions:  Eat a healthy breakfast that consists of lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables  Make sure your plate is half-full with fruits and vegetables   Watch portion sizes   Eat seafood twice a week  Cut back on sugars   Drink more water    Other Academy advice includes varying your protein routine and mixing it up with seafood, beans, peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, soy products, eggs, lean meats, and poultry. Another easy fix to healthier eating is to choose vegetable oils […]

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NJPHK’s Anderson Serves on Camden’s ‘Investing in a Healthy Future’ Panel

March 2, 2017

L-R: Darrin Anderson (Deputy Director, NJPHK), Bob Atkins (Director of NJHI), Kim Fortunato (President, Campbell Soup Foundation), and Jerome Williams (Exec. Vice Chancellor, Rutgers-Newark) On February 15th, 2017, 50 members gathered at Campbell Soup Company headquarters in Camden, NJ for the ‘Investing in a Healthy Future: The Benefits of Regional Wellbeing conference. NJPHK Deputy Director Darrin Anderson served as a panelist, along with colleagues Robert Atkins, national program director, New Jersey Health Initiatives) and Jerome D. Williams, provost and executive vice chancellor, Rutgers University – Newark. Moderated by Kim Fortunato, president of the Campbell Soup Foundation, the panelists discussed topics related to improving and empowering children’s health in local communities. At the close of the program, each panelist was asked to choose one thing they would change immediately. Anderson indicated he would change poverty’s overall impact on children and their health. “Good health habits should be implemented at every age,” […]

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NJHCN Hosts Annual Community Grantee Meeting to Celebrate Progress

March 2, 2017

NJ Commissioner of Health Cathleen Bennett addresses the crowd of grantee representatives during the NJHCN Year 2 Kickoff Meeting. The New Jersey Healthy Communities Network (NJHCN) met on February 16th at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton to celebrate the past year’s successes and discuss plans for the future. The event was attended by nearly 120 individuals representing grantees and community partners from across the state. “Good health is crucial to our communities, and I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made over the past year,” said New Jersey YMCA State Alliance executive director Bill Lovett in his welcoming address. Erin Bunger, a senior research assistant at Montclair State University, shared the 2016 evaluation. Some of the highlights included supporting 42 statewide communities, create 26 new healthy living opportunities, have 18 new stores participate in the Healthy Corner Store initiative, and 9,110 students statewide received a school breakfast during the […]

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New Jersey Jumps to 19th Nationally for School Breakfast

March 2, 2017

New Jersey is now in the top 20 nationwide for ensuring that more low-income students start their school day with a healthy morning meal, giving them the nutrition they need to concentrate and learn, according to a national report released today.    The Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) School Breakfast Scorecard found that New Jersey’s participation rate increased 6 percent, pushing it to 19th place. The report stated nearly 59 percent of low-income students who ate lunch at school also received breakfast in 2015-16.  New Jersey ranked 23rd last year and 46th in 2011, before the launch of the NJ Food for Thought Campaign, which has been credited with fueling the increase in school breakfast participation.  Also, Jersey City ranked 2nd, and Newark was 5th nationwide for their high student participation rates, according to FRAC’s School Breakfast – Making it Work in Large School Districts.   “This is great news for New […]

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