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5 Tips to Keep Your Holiday Season Healthy

December 5, 2017

With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s easy to lose sight of healthy habits. Foods rich in fats, sugar, and sodium are in abundance at parties and gatherings which can make these dishes very difficult to avoid. According to an article on, the average American consumes nearly 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat at just ONE holiday meal. Don’t stress – here are 5 tips to help you keep your holiday dinners healthy and light: Bring a healthy dish with you – Bringing a dish you whip up yourself is a great way to ensure that at least one thing you eat is healthier! Eat breakfast – Starting your day off with a healthy balanced meal is always important, why skip it during the holidays? Know your limits – Stop when you’re full and pop a mint in your mouth. A fresh palette can curb overeating. Plan some […]


FDA Continued Delay of Menu Labeling Rule Proves Unhealthy for Families

October 2, 2017

Photo by Djenaba Figueroa School is back in session which means planning healthy lunches and snacks for children to eat during the school day. In 2016, the FDA announced they were planning to release improved nutrition labels to make it easier for consumers to see what’s in the foods they’re purchasing. Unfortunately, there was a delay in production of these easy-to-read labels. Susan Jones, registered dietician, and nutritionist at Henry J. Austin Health Center in Trenton, NJ, and member of NJPHK-Trenton, penned this op-ed about just how detrimental a delay in production of these updated labels can be for consumers nationwide.   by Susan Jones, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist at Henry J Austin Health Center Have you ever wondered how many calories are in your favorite fast food burger, breakfast sandwich, pasta entree or order of movie theater popcorn? Calorie information is available on many restaurant and food establishment menus and menu […]


Absence of Recess a Setback for New Jersey Children

September 5, 2017

All children deserve to be educated about the importance of nutrition and being physically active. In January 2016, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would require a mandatory 20-minute recess during the school day. Dr. Darrin Anderson, state deputy director for the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids and associate executive director for the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance, penned this op-ed about the importance of physical activity and how recess aids in shaping a culture of health for students during the school day. —————————————————————————————- Darrin Anderson, Sr., PhD, MS State Deputy Director, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids The absence of recess in New Jersey public schools is a disfavor to elementary school children and a major setback in promoting a healthy weight among children. Childhood obesity in our country has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Today, nearly one in four children ages 10-17 in […]


5 Snacks You’ve Been Tricked into Thinking are Healthy

July 31, 2017

Let’s face it – we’re a nation on the go! Quick, easy, and healthy snacks are the ideal choice for people of all ages, but it isn’t always easy to tell which is best to munch on. In fact,  the Huffington Post reported that Americans spent $374 billion on snacks like chips, protein bars and pretzels in 2014. Unfortunately, Large amounts of salt, sugar, and fat can be found in many of the snacks in grocery aisles. Parents try to keep pantries stocked with healthy snacks aside from fresh fruits and vegetables, but sometimes get duped by snacks with misleading healthy labels. Here are five snacks you may think are healthy and nutritious, but are not: Granola bars – Most cereal bars contain whole grains and fruit as ingredients, but a large amount of added sugar and trans fats make these snacks an unhealthy choice. Try some of these recipes […]


4 Reasons to Give Yoga a Shot This Summer

July 5, 2017

Are you looking for a new way to exercise? Practicing yoga is a great way to calm your body and mind while increasing flexibility and muscle strength. Yoga is a great activity for all ages and levels of physical ability. Summer programs like Camden’s Connect the Lots and Vineland’s Park Hop have incorporated yoga into their healthy activity rotations. offers a list of 38 awesome health benefits of practicing yoga, including the following: Stress Management – Practicing yoga can help increase calmness and sharpen concentration. Muscle Strength and Toning – Along with relieving stress, yoga is great for physical health. As you continue to practice yoga, you may notice an increase in your core strength and overall muscle tone. Healthier Eating Habits – Exercising regularly helps you burn more calories and become a more conscious eater. You can start positive dietary changes by switching out junk food snacks and […]


Stay Active This Summer!

June 6, 2017

by Cara Morello Director of Administration/Operations, Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA Summer is the ideal time for kids to get up, get out, and explore. But, for some kids, summer means no access to recreational and educational activities to help them learn, grow, and thrive during out-of-school time. As a result, some kids can experience learning loss and gain weight twice as fast than during the school year (Y USA, 2016). Keeping kids active and engaged over the course of the summer will help combat some of the barriers that arise during the summer season. Being active doesn’t have to be boring or strenuous – contrary to what most believe. There are options for any kid, and any parent, to have fun this summer, instead of being in front of the television or computer. Parents may consider a summer camp program for their child that ensures campers are moving throughout the […]


The Importance of Environmental Scans for Children

May 1, 2017

by Victoria Buhl Stickers, computers, yoga balls… These are just a few of the items staff members have requested when asked: “What would you like to put on your school’s wish list?” I have been working with the NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids to conduct environmental scans in four Trenton elementary schools. My project is part of a much larger initiative entitled the Community Health Collaborative (CHC), funded by Novo Nordisk. The CHC brings together various Trenton-area organizations with the goal of decreasing the risk of type II diabetes in second and third graders from the identified target schools. My role in conducting and compiling the scans will help inform the other grantees of the most immediate needs in the schools.  The environmental scans consisted of 50 questions and assessed each school’s physical activity environment, nutritional environment, built environment, and overall school climate and culture. To conduct the scans, I […]


4 Reasons to Implement School Wellness

April 11, 2017

by Darrin Anderson, Sr., PhD, MS State Deputy Director, New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids April 24-28 marks the fifth year of celebration for Every Kid Healthy Week (EKHW). The goal is to bring both awareness and recognition to schools across the nation who are dedicating time to improving health and wellness and cultivating the school environment. As a father who is committed to the health and well-being of my son and daughter, I believe good health is vital, and all children should have access to healthy meals both at home and school. I also think physical activity is equally important. Many of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids communities have had great success in revising school wellness policies and working with school officials on implementation. Below are just some of the successes we’ve had in creating an overall Culture of Health within many New Jersey schools: Food access […]


3 Tips for Healthy Brain Development

April 11, 2017

According to, the human brain has around 100 billion cells and loses about a gram of brain mass per year. For this reason, your brain’s health is important. Brain development also is a vital part of children’s health and wellness. A healthy brain can improve a child’s mood and memory. Junk food and too much sugar can impact a child’s mood and cognitive function. A variety of foods can help to generate and improve an individual’s memory and the brain’s overall function. compiled a list of important things that contributes to improving brain health. Here are three easy tips to remember: Make sure kids get enough rest – Sleep deprivation is a major factor in slowed cognitive function. Sleep has a huge effect on mood, memory, alertness, and even academic performance. recommends school-aged children (ages 6-13) get between 9 – 11 hours per night and teenagers (ages […]


Daylight Savings Means More Time to Soak Up Vitamin D

March 2, 2017

by David Calderetti Project Director, NJPHK – Vineland Winter is winding down, and daylight savings begins March 12, which means we gain an extra hour of sunlight per day. This is great for two reasons – warmer weather is on its way (finally!), and you can get more vitamin D into your system. Regular exposure to sunlight allows your body to create vitamin D, which is essential for bone and immune health. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences reports an average adult up to age 70 should get 600 IU of vitamin D daily. Here’s a refresher on the sunshine vitamin: Vitamin D deficiency is common during the winter months – Sunlight isn’t the only place to get vitamin D, but it’s hard to get some sunshine when the days are shorter. Vitamin D can boost your metabolism – Getting the daily amount of vitamin D is useful for […]