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Pilots in New Jersey Communities Creating More Opportunities for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

December 3, 2012 | Community News

Mayor's Wellness walk takes advantage of walking trail in Red Bank, NJ, one of the pilot sites that received grant funding from NJPHK and ShapingNJ

From more farmers markets to healthier snacks and food choices at the local zoo, many New Jersey children and their families can now take advantage of environmental changes that promote healthy eating and physical activities– thanks to funding of several communities from the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, a statewide program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and ShapingNJ, a state partnership for nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention. 

Communities in three counties (Atlantic, cape May and Monmouth) were selected as pilot sites and received grants from NJPHK/ShapingNJ to implement policy and environmental changes that increase access to healthy food and create opportunities for physical activity.

“We are excited to see the progress being made by these communities in creating healthy environments that encourage healthy eating and active living,” stated Darrin Anderson, deputy director, NJPHK.

The communities located in Monmouth County (Red Bank, Belmar and Farmington Boroughs), Cape May (Middle Township) and Atlantic County (Lake Lanape, Estell Manor)—have developed a variety of creative strategies to help residents eat healthy and be more physically active.

Monmouth County has created school health councils in two school districts and a Healthy Bodega Initiative where residents can use Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards at the local farmers market.  Efforts to promote walking and fitness trails in local parks also have encouraged more residents to get active.

Atlantic County has added two community gardens and sponsors three farmers’ markets.  Access to physical activity also has been increased with the installation of an outdoor gym and playground in Atlantic County Park.

Cape May County has expanded healthy food and snack options at the community recreation center and the local zoo, re-established a farmers’ market in the local park and created a community Walking Club where participants walk along a signed trail that connects the Cape May Zoo and Park with Middle Township.

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