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New Jersey's 'Mayors Wellness Campaign' Goes National!

Thursday, December 4, 2008 General News J E 4
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TRENTON, N.J., Dec. 3 Two cities in Tennessee have adoptedNew Jersey's unique and successful "Mayors Wellness Campaign" (MWC) it waslearned this week. An article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Mondayreported that the cities of Athens and Englewood in the Volunteer State aftertheir mayors learned of the New Jersey program through their health plan.(The article can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/69kabf )

The Mayors Wellness Campaign is an initiative of the New Jersey HealthCare Quality Institute (www.njhcqi.org) in partnership with the New JerseyState League of Municipalities (www.njslom.org). The MWC supports mayors aschampions of community health. The goal is to increase opportunities for NewJersey residents to participate in daily physical activity with a long-termgoal of reducing health care costs secondary to obesity. Throughpublic-private partnerships, the MWC provides structure and resources forhealthy community initiatives. By encouraging mayors to play a leadership rolein supporting local opportunities for active, healthy lifestyles, the intentof the MWC is to improve health and make New Jersey a national leader incommunity-based health interventions.

"This is exactly what we had in mind when we developed the program," saidDavid Knowlton, President of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute."We did not copy protect any of the elements of the Mayors Wellness Campaignbecause we wanted others to replicate our initiative and help get their owncitizens on the path to active and healthy lifestyles. We could not be moreproud that two Tennessee cities have decided to launch the program on theirown. We hope others will take notice as well."

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, former Athens Mayor JohnProffitt said he heard of the plan through their insurer. This past summer,Mayor Proffitt signed a pledge with the organization to begin a wellnesscampaign in Athens, Tennessee. The Times Free Press reported that the campaignquickly spread to Englewood, and the entire county in which the two cities arelocated is considering signing the pledge.

"This is wonderful news," said New Jersey State League of MunicipalitiesExecutive Director William G. Dressel. "Mayors can do so much on a locallevel to improve the health of the citizens who reside in their towns andcities. I plan on reaching out to my counterpart at the Tennessee MunicipalLeague to see how we might work together cooperatively to spread this programthroughout the state."

More than 250 New Jersey mayors are active participants in the MayorsWellness Campaign. In 2006, each of the 566 mayors in New Jersey'smunicipalities were mailed the MWC "Toolbox," a manual designed to guide themthrough the implementation of wellness programs in their communities. Brokendown into four major sections -- Youth in Motion; Employees in Motion; Seniorsin Motion; and Communities in Motion -- the Toolbox outlines programs that canbe directly used in every community in New Jersey. The Toolbox can also befound on the MWC website at www.mayorswellnesscampaign.org.

Contact: Donald Sico 609-351-3591 or Judy Doyle 609-393-4931

SOURCE Mayors Wellness Campaign
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