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ShapingNJ began in 2008 with a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. ShapingNJ was specifically designed to:

  • build on the successes of the 2006 New Jersey Obesity Plan created by the New Jersey Obesity Prevention Task Force,
  • update the strategies, and
  • address the challenges of making changes more lasting and impactful.

ShapingNJ has the following visions:

  • Breastfeeding-Friendly Spaces: New Jersey hospitals and workplaces will support babies' best start by helping mothers to breastfeed exclusively during their babies' first six months.
  • Healthy, Affordable Nutrition. All of our residents will have easy access--at school, in their neighborhoods and throughout the community-- to nutritious and affordable food and drink, especially fruits and vegetables.
  • Healthy Child and Afterschool Care. Every day, every child in child or after-school care will eat healthy food, including fruits and vegetables, and engage in lots of physically active play. No child will watch TV in those settings.
  • Lifelong Physical Activity. Every community and every school will offer abundant opportunities for everyone to engage in safe, affordable physical activity. Physical activity will be a daily routine for all New Jersey residents throughout their lives. Schools will teach this healthy habit starting with kindergartners.
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ShapingNJ's Process and Work

Since its inception, the partnership convened workgroup meetings to identify those groups of New Jerseyans most at risk for obesity and related health outcomes, identify strategies that effectively address risk factors associated with obesity and the needs in New Jersey, and conduct community feedback sessions to determine if the strategies were appropriate for the people they would impact. A final list of strategies was prioritized and serves as the basis of the 2010 New Jersey Obesity Prevention Plan, a 10 year vision for reducing and preventing obesity in New Jersey.

Today, ShapingNJ is putting the plan into action and measuring change. ShapingNJ's work is focused in five broad settings that offer opportunities to address obesity prevention: community, school, child care, healthcare, and worksites.

ShapingNJ operates with several core principles: 

  • Share power in communication, decision making and leadership (Community Engagement Framework)
  • Emphasize changing the policies and environments in which we live
  • Focus on reaching those who are most at risk for health disparities and obesity
  • Implement activities and strategies that are shown to work
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The partnership consists of a wide range of partner organizations, representing health, transportation, parks and recreation, business, and government sectors. These organizations classify themselves as hospitals, state agencies, universities, non-profits, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, philanthropic organizations, and many others.

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