The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State
Alliance announced today a $2.25 million expansion grant for Healthy U -
a collaborative initiative to combat the obesity epidemic among New
Jersey children. Over the next three and a half years, Healthy U will
expand to impact approximately 40,000 children statewide. In addition to
the after-school setting, the program will now be offered in two new
settings, pre-school and school-based for the first time in the history
of the program.
"Since its inception in 2008, the Healthy U program has equipped
thousands of New Jersey children and their families with nutritional
education and increased physical activity to help them lead a healthy
life," said Robert A. Marino, Chairman and CEO of Horizon BCBSNJ and
Chairman of the Board of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. "Today,
the Foundation joins with the YMCA Alliance in renewing and building
upon our commitment to combat obesity."
Healthy U uses the evidence-based CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child
Health) curriculum to help children adopt behavior changes that promote
healthy eating and physical activity. This award-winning curriculum was
created in 1992 by national education and child health experts at the
University of Texas. In its first phase, Healthy U has been implemented
in all 41 member Ys across New Jersey, and more than 20,000 children
ages 5 to 13 have participated in the program at over 400 afterschool
sites. The four-year evaluation results showed that the program is
effective and working, children are adding more fruits and vegetables to
their diets, are cutting back on TV and computer time and are being
physically active more each day.
"With this additional investment from the Foundation, the Healthy U
program will be expanded to more than 5,000 pre-school children,
integrated into 50 public schools that will reach 15,000 children at the
elementary level, and maintained as an afterschool program at 400 Y
sites for 20,000 children," Marino said.
"Healthy U is an innovative program that is closely in tune with the
YMCA's mission to help children lead healthy lives," said William
Lovett, Executive Director of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance.
"Children have enjoyed it, and we've seen how the program's emphasis on
parental involvement really accelerates progress toward positive
behavior changes. The Y is excited about building out this program and
implementing age-specific programming for the younger children new to
Healthy U. We applaud The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey for its
generous support and its commitment to a generation of healthier
"New Jersey's children face an obesity epidemic and programs like
Healthy U are making marked improvements in their health," said Dr.
Arturo Brito, Deputy Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health. "I
congratulate The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey
YMCA State Alliance for expanding Healthy U so that more children may
Horizon Foundation for New Jersey