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First "Families On The Move" participants to graduate. Gloucester County's new program promotes healthy children and families

WOODBURY, NJ - Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and Freeholder Helene M. Reed announced today that the first families who have been participating in the county's new Families on the Move program for the past 6 weeks will graduate this Friday, August 26th at 9 a.m. at the Gloucester County Department of Health & Senior Services, Division of Health, 160 Fries Mill Road, in Turnersville.

"So much news has been generated about America's obesity problems, but nothing is going to help our kids become fit except education, fun and physical activity," said Freeholder Director Sweeney.

"This program is aimed at providing families with a positive educational experience that is fun and teaches the entire family to make healthy lifestyle changes that are intended to last a lifetime," Sweeney said. "We are very proud of the families that stuck with the program and hope more will participate when we start the program up again next year." Freeholder Director Sweeney noted that there were 7 families, with 22 children in total, who participated in the first Families on the Move program.

The Families on the Move was designed to educate families on making healthful food choices, while learning new skills, recipes, exercises, and fun and exciting activities. The program's mission is to empower the families of Gloucester County to make healthful choices and participate in activities that will foster healthy lifestyles, encourage family togetherness, and create a sense of well-being. A major component of the program includes nursing counselors meeting with families to provide one-on-one education, support and encouragement throughout the duration of the program, and remaining available to them beyond the 6-week programming sessions.

This 6-week program began in July 2005 and has met for 2 hours each week since at various locations and parks throughout the county.

"Children should be given every opportunity to succeed and grow into healthy adults", stated Freeholder Helene Reed, Liaison to the Department of Health & Senior Services. This new program which utilizes and reinforces behavior modification through intense education and dynamic family participation will help to ensure that Gloucester County children and their families better understand how important it is to make lasting changes for a healthier life," Reed stated.

"I am thrilled to be recognizing the first group of children and family members who participated in and completed our Families on the Move program this Friday", said Reed.

Being overweight can lead to serious health problems later in life such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of overweight children has tripled in the past three decades. Being overweight as a child increases your chances of being overweight as an adult. Approximately thirteen percent of children in the United States are overweight. Eating habits and activity levels are key factors in determining weight. That's where Families on the Move comes in, encouraging and teaching children and their parents to strike a balance between eating and activity.

If you are interested in becoming a program participant, contact Gloucester County's Health Division offices at: 262-4101. If you are a business who would like to become involved with our program curriculum, please contact us at: 262-4136.