MORRISTOWN, NJ —RWJBarnabas Health and ShopRite recently announced their partnership in launching a free nutrition and wellness education program available to children and families at ShopRite stores throughout New Jersey and beyond.

Entitled “KidsFit at ShopRite,” the new program combines the collective visions, expertise and geographic reach of both organizations to create a powerful impact in the state, with the primary goal of preventing childhood obesity.

According to both the ShopRite and RWJBarnabas, children who are overweight or obese are at risk for lifelong health problems including asthma, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and more. Childhood obesity can be prevented and controlled with proper nutrition and lifestyle modification, which will be taught as part of this initiative.

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KidsFit at ShopRite is a free, six-session curriculum-based program taught by ShopRite’s team of in-store registered dietitians that provides children ages 7-10 and their families with ways to create simple, tasty recipes while discovering the nutritional benefits of different food groups. Culinary goodies, recipes and giveaways are provided at each class, which are held at local ShopRite stores.

“As our mission is to keep people healthy and to serve as an innovative resource for the communities we serve, this partnership is a perfect match bringing together New Jersey’s largest and most prestigious retail grocery cooperative and the state’s finest health care system,” said Barry Ostrowsky, President and CEO, RWJBarnabas Health. “This partnership will allow both of our organizations to leverage resources to reach the youth of New Jersey and families and instill healthier eating and wellness habits. We are excited to partner with ShopRite to invest in health promotion, community outreach and overall wellness.”

“Our team of registered dietitians developed the KidsFit program at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey in 2007 to address the high rates of childhood obesity seen at our health clinic,” said Barbara Mintz, Vice President for Healthy Living and Community and Employee Engagement for RWJBarnabas Health. “KidsFit is a highly-successful, multi-disciplinary educational model that encourages healthy eating and exercise as a way to both prevent and treat childhood obesity.”

KidsFit at ShopRite will be led locally by ShopRite dietitians and includes an interactive program which features scavenger hunts through the stores, cooking classes, healthy recipes and nutrition and wellness tips for kids and families.

“We’re honored to work with RWJBarnabas Health to bring the award-winning KidsFit program to life in our stores,” said Natalie Menza-Crowe, MS, RD, Director of Health and Wellness at ShopRite. “RWJBarnabas Health is a recognized leader in the health care industry and we’re proud to join forces with them to help fulfill our shared mission of working together to keep communities healthy.  We strongly believe that KidsFit at ShopRite is a great program that will encourage and inspire lifelong healthy eating habits.”

Visit www.Shoprite.com/KidsFit to find participating ShopRites or to learn more about the KidsFit program and download free recipes, visit www.RWJBH.org/KidsFit.