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Monday, April 6, 2009 - ihealthy Family Program is Easily Digested

Through community partnerships, South Jersey Healthcare continues to assist families in the fight against childhood obesity by making innovative health-focused programs available to area residents.  Most recently, SJH and the Bottino ShopRite of Upper Deerfield partnered to host the ihealthy Family program.

The ihealthy Family program was created due to the alarming increase in childhood obesity in Cumberland County and the associated medical risks this poses.  Taught by a pediatric registered nurse, this program is designed to educate parents and community members about basic nutrition, portion control, and how to read food labels.  The ShopRite of Upper Deerfield hosted this weekly class and provided food demonstrations by a ShopRite chef, store tours, and samples of different foods.  ShopRite also donated weekly coupons, food give-aways, and prizes for participants.  This was an educational, entertaining and interactive way for participants to learn about nutrition.  At the end of the program, participants not only made new friends, but had a better understanding of how to make smarter food choices for themselves and their families.

Shoprite’s participation in the ihealthy Family program is an extension of the supportive role they have played in assisting SJH with programs geared toward improving the health of Cumberland County youth.  They have also contributed to the Vineland-based S.T.E.P.S. (Success Through Exercise, Physical Fitness and Sharing Information) for Kids program by providing supermarket gift certificates to families who completed the 12 week health intervention program that emphasizes healthy eating and exercising. “The support of area businesses is important to the success of these programs,” said Shelley Cohen, Director of Garden AHEC.  “Through community teamwork we can take bigger steps toward a healthier community,”

For more information on the ihealthy Family program or to register for an upcoming class at the ShopRite of Upper Deerfield, contact South Jersey Healthcare's Childhood Obesity Coordinator, Debbie Erlandson, at (856) 575-4868. Classes for Spanish-speaking parents are also available upon request.  For information about the S.T.E.P.S. for Kids course, contact Shelly Cohen at (856) 575-4860.

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.