NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Rutgers University is launching the New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative, a venue for the development of programs to promote nutrition for children.

The initiative is a project of the university’s New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (NJIFNH), aimed at improving the lifestyles of children across the state.

NJIFNH received a three-year, $3 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to start the program.

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NJIFNH, which is associated with the university’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, will partner with another university agency, the Child Institute of New Jersey, to develop curriculum for nutritional, culinary skills, physical fitness and healthy lifestyles for families to use in their homes.

One goal is to implement educational enrichment programs in local schools and summer camps focusing on nutrition literacy, cooking skills and physical fitness.

The grant calls for the Rutgers University Foundation to raise an additional $1 million, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has agreed to match the $1 million, bringing the total funding for this new initiative to $5 million.

“With an interdisciplinary approach and a community voice at the initiative’s core, we strengthen our chances of insuring a healthy future for the children of New Jersey,” said Peter Gillies, director of NJIFNH.

Arnold Rabson, director of Child Health Institute of New Jersey, which is part of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, said the new initiative “brings the broad pediatric research efforts across Rutgers together with the community for the health of children.”

The Healthy Kids Initiative will convene workshops on ways to use science and technology to childhood obesity and children’s education.

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