Source: NJ HealthyKids.com
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services tells us that youth need 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day where they live, learn, and play. In addition to health benefits, regular activity gets the brain charging. Research shows that when children are physically active, they achieve higher grades, record better attendance and their behavior improves.
Since 2009, NJPHK has been focused on helping children and communities achieve a healthy weight through prevention strategies that support access to affordable healthy foods and increase opportunities for safe physical activity. The goal is to make the healthy choice the easy choice for everybody.
This May, Newark is celebrating National Fitness Month in a big way with the introduction of CATCH in the city’s nine public preschools.
CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is a coordinated school health program designed to promote physical activity, healthy food choices and the prevention of tobacco use in children. Newark’s nine preschools will join the 8,500 CATCH schools and after-school organizations across America that are teaching children that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be fun.
Dr. Marguerite Leuze, Health Services Director, Newark Public Schools has long been an advocate of CATCH. She brought the idea of piloting CATCH in four Newark preschools to New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Newark (NJPHK-N). She and Courtney Price, NJPHK-N Project Manager, took the concept to Samantha Lott-Velez, Interim Director, Office of Early Childhood, Newark Public Schools. Lott-Velez bought in immediately but envisioned all nine preschools benefiting from the program.
As all result, all nine preschools will introduce CATCH curriculum and activities in their classrooms. The kickoff is scheduled this week the Samuel L. Berliner Elementary School in Newark.
“Horizon Foundation. Healthy U, the YMCA State AllianceYMCA Newark and Vicinity pulled the support together to make this happen,” said Price. “As a result, Newark’s three- to five-year olds will develop healthier habits earlier in their lives. CATCH has proven that establishing healthy habits in childhood can promote behavior changes that can last a lifetime.”