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Nutley Overcoming Childhood Obesity with 'Fit Kids'

A Township-run program couples with local business to improve health

The Nutley Fit Kids program is working hard to overcome childhood obesity in the program’s first year.

More than one-third of all children living in the United States today are considered overweight or obese, according to the organizers of the township-run program.

Fit Kids conducted YMCA Boot Camp exercise classes, swimming programs with Montclair State University, and “Eat Your Math Homework,” school assemblies about healthy eating, in recent months. The program has also had self-esteem workshops, educational lectures, and exclusive discounts to the Muscle Maker Grill on Franklin Avenue.

Healthy cooking classes for middle school students and “Strong Girls Running,” a running club for girls ages eight to 15 are coming soon, according to organizers.

Commissioner Thomas Evans is Interim Director of the Department of Public Affairs, the town department organizing the program.

He said that the Nutley Fit Kids Program has partnered with the Newark Museum and is sending Nutley School District elementary students to the Museum to tour the museum’s “Generation Fit” Exhibit. 

Third through sixth-graders are visiting the museum during the 2012 school year. 

The class trips are possible through a partnership with the Newark Museum and a contribution made by Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.  in Nutley.

Roche USA, which used to be called Hoffman-LaRoche, is one of the sponsors of the three-year Generation Fit Exhibit. The company also supports the Nutley Wellness Challenge programs and the Thriving Survivors, the Nutley breast cancer survivors group.

“We are pleased to connect two of our strong community partners with the school visit initiative,” said Pat Hughes, director of community relations for Roche.  “The Township is to be commended for its many programs to improve the health of Nutley residents, and we are glad to support the newest effort called Fit Kids.”

The class trip will feature time in the Generation Fit exhibit and a nutrition or physical fitness workshop to reinforce what the children learned in the exhibit, Evans said.

Generation Fit opened in 2011, and is an interactive exhibit exploring nutrition and exercise issues, while teaching visitors about disease prevention through healthy life choices and behaviors, museum officials said. 

“This exhibit is the perfect complement to the overall objective of the Fit Kids Program, and I am happy that they have been given this opportunity,” Evans said. 

Although membership is not required for the class trips, children and youth in the school district are encouraged to become Fit Kids members by taking the fitness pledge offered at www.nutleynj.org .   Membership is open, free and takes only a minute to complete with a parent and/or guardian.  Once a member, kids will receive frequent program updates and exclusive discounts. 

For more information, contact the Department of Public Affairs at 973-284-4976.  Parents and kids can like Nutley Fit Kids on Facebook to see the latest happenings and announcements.    

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