The New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative includes experts in the fields of child health, nutrition, education, physical fitness, and clinical research. As part of its commitment to education, the NJHKI will be developing and providing educational presentations, modules, and materials for child health professionals, scientists, and community members. You can find them here.
NJHKI Hosts KidsFit Teacher Training Day
On Monday, February 18, 2019, The New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative and RWJBarnabas Health co-hosted a KidsFit Teacher Training day at the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH). Designed to support children’s healthy lifestyles, KidsFit is a 10-week long program that promotes healthy food choices and activities. With over 30 participants, ranging from K-12 educators to health professionals, instructors and dieticians, Kerri Likakis and Molly Fallon engaged participants in an overview of nutrition education and how to implement the curriculum into their organizations. Trainings are offered free of charge to participants and the curriculum is available for a donation on the KidsFit website.
Aeroponic Towers Become Part of CHA Curriculum
In November, 2018, the Culture of Health Academy (CHA) added two aeroponic towers. These towers will provide CHA students, and all students brought to the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health by NJHKI, the opportunity to grow, observe, prepare, and taste over 20 different vegetables, herbs, and fruits right inside the classroom. School garden programs have been shown to increase children’s vegetable intake, in addition to improving attitudes, willingness to try, knowledge, and culinary literacy skills. The towers have become part of the educational curriculum with books focused on plants, physical activity where they act out the life cycle of a seed with their bodies, counting plants, describing the colors of the plants, and tasting what is grown.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Newark
The New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative (NJHKI) is collaborating with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark to address nutrition and healthy eating for the homeless population. NJHKI team member, Peggy Policastro, developed an educational module on Nutrition and Eating that addresses basic nutrition, preparing healthy foods without access to a kitchen, label reading and supermarket shopping on a budget. Rutgers New Jersey Cooperative Extension is lending a helping hand by developing a resource sheet that includes information on how to access local community food programs such as free and reduced school meals, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and additional food and nutrition services offered by the Department of Health and Human Services. The Nutrition and Eating module will be piloted at St. Rocco’s Family Shelter in Newark. St. Rocco’s shelter offers safety, housing, and meals to women and children who are faced with a period of homelessness. The shelter services around 60 women and 80 children per year. After piloting the module at the Newark St. Rocco’s shelter location, the module will be rolled out to neighboring Catholic Charity-sponsored homeless shelters throughout Newark and Jersey City. The Nutrition and Eating module developed by the NJHKI is part of a larger health literacy program offered by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark.