East Orange among the best of the 516 communities participating in the campaign

EAST ORANGE, NJ - On Thursday, April 7, 2016 officials from The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services presented the City of East Orange with awards for achieving gold medals in all five Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) goal areas, which are based on achievements made to improve access to healthy, affordable food and promote physical activity for children and adults. East Orange is the second site in New Jersey to reach this significant milestone.

Of the 500 cities, towns and counties who have committed to the five goals in the LMCTC initiative since July 2012, East Orange was among an elite group of 59 cities and counties to have earned gold medals in each of the five goal areas. In addition, five city leaders — including Acting Director of Recreation & Cultural Affairs Osner Charles — were honored in 2015 for their overall efforts to prevent childhood obesity and improve the health of their residents. Charles was the recipient of the Most Dedicated City Staff Award.

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“When we know better, we do better,” said Mayor Lester E. Taylor III. “Healthy eating and exercise are influenced by access to healthy, safe and affordable foods/beverages, as well as a person’s knowledge, attitude and culture. Collectively, we must make smarter choices about what we eat and how we play in order to reverse the epidemic of obesity in our community. I applaud the efforts of our Department of Recreation & Cultural Affairs to make our city a healthier one.”

The city has approached the issue of obesity with a comprehensive plan that includes adding and clearly marking healthier options in all municipal vending machines, launching a citywide 90-day weight loss challenge, and providing nutritional information to residents via an ongoing partnership with the local ShopRite’s registered dietician. In addition, the city has plans to expanded recreational programming to include intergenerational activities that allow children and parents/grandchildren/guardians to get fit at the same time.

To further expand its successful Summer Food Service Program, Mayor Taylor announced the launch of the After-school Meals Program, which will provide over 1,000 youth a healthy and nutritious dinner in local at-risk after-school programs.

“In a city with approximately 10,000 school-age students, nearly 85% are eligible for free or reduced lunch,” said Mayor Taylor. “For many, this after-school meal may be the only meal they get between lunch and breakfast.”

** Upcoming Healthy Kids Day **

On Saturday, April 16, 2016 between 10am-2pm at Rowley Park (North Arlington Avenue and William Street), the city will be hosting its 2nd Annual Healthy Kids Day, which will include community vendors, sports and recreational activities, music, food and fun! All are welcome to attend.

For more information on other Let’s Move! initiatives or upcoming recreation programs, please call 973.414.4141 or email teameo@eastorange-nj.gov

Photo Caption: (Front Row L-R) David Johnson and Kedesch Altidor of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Osner Charles, Mayor Lester E. Taylor III, and Council Vice Chair Romal Bullock (2nd Ward). (Second Row L-R) Carl Simmons, Stanley Edwards, Ravi Boze-Adams, and Takeemah Rutherford. (Back Row) Michael Davis