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Conference Energizes Group to Help Kids Get Moving

October 26, 2012 | Community News

They came from all across the state of New Jersey and represented a cross section of school wellness team members, school nurses, school boards, faith-based organizations, community organizations, local legislators and policy makers. At more than 200 strong they had a single goal—to help communities and schools implement policies that promote physical activity for kids.

Held at the Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton Center for Health Wellness on Thursday, October 25th, the Communities and Schools in Motion conference engaged participates in a discussion around:

  • The impact of physical activity on disease prevention and health promotion
  • The available opportunities for physical activity in their communities and schools
  • Partners and resources available to improve the health of the community
  • Strategies for municipalities and schools partnering to create or enhance health policies

National public health, planning and transportation consultant, Mark Fenton delivered the keynote address, “Creating More Livable, Walkable Communities.”   Fenton is known for the development of the University of North Carolina’s Safe Routes to School clearinghouse and a facilitator for the walkable community workshop series of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking.  An adjunct associate professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and former host of the “America’s Walking” series on PBS television, Fenton also is the author of numerous books including the “Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness.”

Bill Lovett, program director of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK), facilitated a Community Connections panel discussion on how to create a healthy school environment through partnerships.    The panel included: Marissa Davis, project manager, NJPHK-Trenton, Lisa Scheetz, project manager, NJPHK-Vineland and COO of Vineland YMCA and Sue Cornell, Healthy U director. Davis discussed the success of the partnership between Monument Elementary School, NJPHK-Trenton, KaBOOM and other major sponsors in the recent playground build in Trenton, NJ.  Scheetz highlighted the collaboration among NJPHK-Vineland, the city of Vineland Health Department, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Rutgers Innovation Center, Vineland Public Schools and food vendor Sodexo to bring Jersey Farm Fresh offerings to Vineland public school cafeterias. Cornell discussed how the YMCA-sponsored Healthy U program worked with educators to implement more than 100 Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) programs.

The conference was a collaboration of NJPHK, The Alan Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Horizon NJ Health, NJ Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, NJ Department of Education, NJ Department of Health-Shaping NJ,  NJ Department of Transportation and Safe Routes to School.

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