NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Chips and unhealthy junk food were staples of 13-year-old New Brunswick resident Joharlin Martinez’s diet before he enrolled in Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s (RWJUH) “Fun in the Park” program.
Less than one year later, Martinez and the program’s organizers are amazed at the changes he’s made since August. Martinez regularly completes the program’s fitness challenges, which include sit-ups, abdominal crunches, push-ups, stretching and playing competitive sports four times each week and he has lost several pounds. Better still, he’s having a lot of fun.
“I feel like things are getting easier the more I do,” Martinez says. “I can play longer and I feel better. I’m also eating more fruit like apples and bananas, but less chips.”
Launched in August 2011 with a grant from the American Heart Association’s Por Tu Corazón Latino initiative and support from the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids New Brunswick, New Brunswick Tomorrow and the New Brunswick Police Department, RWJUH’s “Fun in the Park” program is working to encourage increased physical activity and healthier eating among New Brunswick’s Latino youths.
In celebration of April’s designation as National Minority Health Month, RWJUH is bringing the “Fun in the Park” program to the Arline and Henry Schwartzman Courtyard this Sunday, April 22 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to encourage more New Brunswick children to adopt healthier, active lifestyles.
Sunday’s program, “Let’s Get Moving New Brunswick,” will feature a wide range of healthy activities and presentations that are fun for the whole family. The program is open to children ages seven to 12 and includes individual workouts, obstacle courses and other fitness challenges. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
There will also be screenings and informational displays about many health-related topics including healthy eating choices.
“Fun in the Park’s” mission is to address the alarming increase in U.S. obesity rates among children of all ages during the last 40 years. Latino children have one of the highest rates of obesity and represent the largest, youngest and fastest-growing minority groups in the nation. In New Brunswick, city children are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to their national counterparts, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study focusing on Childhood Obesity in New Jersey. Moreover, almost all of New Brunswick’s children (88%) do not meet recommendations for vegetable consumption.
During the spring, summer and early fall, “Fun in the Park,” meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3:30-6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon in New Brunswick’s Baker Park located off Remsen Avenue. During the winter, the program is offered in space donated by First Baptist Church of New Brunswick on Hale Street. Each session begins with children taking part in several physical activities designed to increase their strength, flexibility and stamina. The day typically ends with a competitive sports activity such as soccer or baseball.
For more information about “Fun in the Park,” please call (732) 247-2050.
Media interested in covering should contact Public Relations Director Peter Haigney at (732) 937-8521 to make arrangements.
About Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) is a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville, NJ. Its Centers of Excellence include cardiovascular care from minimally invasive heart surgery to transplantation, cancer care, stroke care, neuroscience, joint replacement, and women’s and children’s care including The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (www.bmsch.org). As the flagship Cancer Hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the principal teaching hospital of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, RWJUH is an innovative leader in advancing state-of-the-art care. A Level 1 Trauma Center and the only Pediatric Trauma Center in the state, RWJUH’s New Brunswick campus serves as a national resource in its ground-breaking approaches to emergency preparedness.
RWJUH has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report seven times and has been selected by the publication as a high performing hospital in numerous specialties. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital has been ranked among the best hospitals in America by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years.
Both the New Brunswick and Somerset campuses have earned significant national recognition for clinical quality and patient safety, including the prestigious Magnet® Award for Nursing Excellence, an “A” patient safety rating from the Leapfrog Group and “Most Wired” designation by Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine. The Joint Commission and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services have designated the New Brunswick Campus as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and the Somerset Campus as a Primary Stroke Center.
The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer has rated RWJUH New Brunswick among the nation’s best comprehensive cancer centers and designated the Steeplechase Cancer Center at RWJ Somerset as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. The Joint Surgery Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for total knee and total hip replacement surgery.