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The New Jersey Office of Nutrition & Fitness (ONF) seeks to provide New Jersey residents with information, data and resources related to obesity prevention.

Obesity Information

The key to maintaining weight is to stay in energy balance - that is, to burn as many calories as we consume.  That's called the energy balance equation:  energy in = energy out. 

When we take in more energy than we use, the body stores the extra energy as fat, and we begin to gain weight.  Overweight and obesity is defined by body mass index (BMI), which is a formula based on height and weight.

  • Overweight: BMI = 25-29.9
  • Obese: BMI is 30 or greater

Because of their changing bodies, overweight and obesity are defined differently in children. Overweight children are those whose BMI is in the 85th to below the 95th percentile, compared to others of the same age and sex, while obese children are in the 95th percentile or above.

To calculate your BMI, click here.


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Nutrition Information

Nutrition plays an important role in health promotion and disease prevention. Eating well can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and obesity, as well as some cancers. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommends Americans to:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables than any other food group
  • Make at least half of the grains eaten, whole grains (i.e. brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, whole wheat bread)  
  • Eat more fat-free or low-fat milk (or soy milk), yogurt, and cheese
  • Eat a variety of lean protein foods such as seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Limit the amount of sodium, cholesterol, saturated and trans fat and sugar eaten

Tips for Eating Healthy

Everyday we can take small steps to healthy eating. Whether you are eating at home or on the go, you can make the healthy choice!

  • Try to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
  • Include fresh, frozen or low-sodium canned vegetables to your favorite pasta dish or omlette.
  • Switch to skim or 1% milk
  • Switch your snack to popcorn, pre-cut fruits and vegetables (apple slices or carrots), or a handful of almonds.
  • Try brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, bulgur, barley, or oats.
  • Eat seafood twice a week instead of meat (try salmon, tuna, shrimp or other varieties).
  • Drink water instead of soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages a few times a day.
  • Ask to take half of your meal home from a restaurant.


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Physical Activity Information

Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends both heart pumping (aerobic) and muscle-strengthening (anaerobic) physical activity. The guidelines also recommend that: 

  • Children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of physical activity every day.
  • Adults should participate in at least 150 minutes a week or 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on 5 days of the week for substantial health benefits.

Tips for Being More Active

There are 1,440 minutes in every day. Schedule 30 of them for physical activity! With a little creativity and planning, even the person with the busiest schedule can make room for physical activity. Think about your weekly or daily schedule and look for or make opportunities to be more active. Every little bit helps.

Consider the following suggestions:

  • Walk, cycle, jog, skate, etc. to work, school, the store or place of worship.
  • Park the car farther away from your destination.
  • Get on or off the bus several blocks away.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Play with children or pets. Everybody wins. If you find it too difficult to be active after work, try it before work.
  • Take fitness breaks - walking or doing desk exercises - instead of taking cigarette or coffee breaks.
  • Perform gardening or home repair activities.
  • Avoid labor-saving devices - turn off the self-propel option on your lawn mower or vacuum cleaner.
  • Use leg power - take small trips on foot to get your body moving.
  • Exercise while watching TV (for example, use hand weights, stationary bicycle/treadmill/stairclimber or stretch).
  • Dance to music.
  • Keep a pair of comfortable walking or running shoes in your car and office. You'll be ready for activity wherever you go!
  • Make a Saturday morning walk a group habit.
  • Walk while doing errands.  
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