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Wednesday, October 24, 2007 - SJH Receives Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Expand Childhood Obesity Programs in Cumberland County

VINELAND, NJ (October 15) – South Jersey Healthcare (SJH) has been awarded a three-year, $299,949 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through its New Jersey Health Initiatives program. The funds will expand SJH’s childhood obesity intervention programs by supporting STEPS (Success Through Exercise, Physical Fitness and Sharing Information,) a community-based child obesity program developed through a partnership between SJH and the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA.

STEPS is a 12-week program for children and their parents that meets twice a week at the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA in Vineland. During each class, an exercise specialist engages children in many interactive activities; a nutrition expert discusses healthy food choices; and parents receive important information on how to make family lifestyle changes in diet and exercise that will address their child’s obesity and overall health.  Using funds from the three-year RWJF grant, SJH will first expand the program to the Vineland Schools, and then to other school districts in the county.

“Childhood obesity is a national and local problem,” said Emily Turnure, R.N., M.S.N., director of education at SJH. “This epidemic is a contributing factor in the increased incidence of many diseases including diabetes, asthma and hypertension. The pediatricians on our staff asked for assistance in caring for children who face this, so we took action and developed the STEPS program.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves.

When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.

STEPS costs $200 per family and financial assistance or insurance reimbursement is often available. For more information or to sign up for the STEPS program, call the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA at (856) 691-0030, ext. 119.

SJH is a nonprofit, integrated health care system, providing access to a continuum of health services. SJH provides hospital services, numerous community health clinics, home health services, and specialty services, which serve the medical and health care needs of Southern New Jersey residents.