For Immediate Release: May 4, 2012
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(HAMILTON TOWNSHIP) – New York Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin and New Jersey Department of Agriculture representatives today presented Mercer High School in Hamilton Township with a program for winning the Eat Right, Move More contest.
Five winners were chosen in the 2011-2012 Eat Right, Move More program, a partnership between the Jets, the Department of Agriculture and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council’s Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign. The program encourages students to eat more of the healthy offerings in their cafeteria and increase the amount of exercise they get each day.
“Mercer High School not only does a good job in providing a wide variety of healthy food choices for its students, but also puts together creative menus of foods the students actually eat,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “We are proud to honor the school as one of this year’s Eat Right, Move More winners.”
The Eat Right, Move More program is in its sixth year. This year, the winning schools were chosen that have made changes in their menus reflecting more fresh fruits and vegetables; a greater variety of vegetables, such as dark green and orange vegetables and legumes; and more whole grains. Also, school lunch and breakfast menus were reviewed and the schools had to show strong support and demonstrate efforts to improve nutrition and physical activity among their students.
New York Jets Linebacker Aaron Maybin and the NJDA's Arleen Ramos-Szatmary start the Eat Right, Move More assembly at Mercer High School.
“Eating well for me is a big part of performing well on the field,” said Maybin. “Mercer High School is creating an advantage for its students with its focus on health and nutrition and I’m happy to be here today to congratulate them.”
Offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson serves as spokesman for Eat Right, Move More. The campaign features posters of Ferguson in every school telling students, “Eating healthy meals helps me play my best. Your school cafeteria has a variety of nutritious foods to keep you going all day long. So let’s get up and Eat Right and Move More!”
Mercer High School, part of the Mercer County Special Services School District, has almost 300 special needs 9th – 12th grade students, ages 14 to 21. Mercer High School Supervisor Linda DeLoretto said not only have they added more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to the lunch menu and given students access to a salad bar, the students are currently participating in a Fitness Challenge.
“Students keep track of the number of servings of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and water they have each day,” said DeLoretto. “They keep track of the number of minutes they exercise. Points are subtracted for unhealthy food choices. Students are very excited and mark their booklets every day.”
DeLoretto said they have a salad bar in the school’s fully operational convenience store that all students and staff have access to and they have put in a water station in the cafeteria. They also are working with a corporate partner to obtain a fitness center and put together a booklet of exercises and recreational offerings for special needs populations.
In addition to Mercer High School, other Eat Right, Move More schools include grand prize winner Lillian M. Steen School in Bogota, which was awarded a $5,000 kitchen makeover grant and Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood; Linden High School in Linden; and Thomas Edison Central Six School in West Orange.
The New York Jets take great pride in a long-standing, year-round commitment to our community. Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation touch the lives of countless young men and women in the tri-state area by promoting fitness, health, and education, particularly in disadvantaged communities. Over the past twelve years, the Jets and their charitable foundation have contributed more than $12 million to a wide range of community-based causes.
From fighting childhood obesity through the Eat Right, Move More initiative, to launching a football team at an urban high school, to urging students to be active for at least 60 minutes every day the New York Jets invest in programs that make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to our focus on youth development, the Jets support the efforts of the Alliance for Lupus Research, numerous established charitable organizations and causes sponsored by the NFL.
The Department of Agriculture’s comprehensive school nutrition policy covers pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students. The policy limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fund-raisers.
More than 687,000 students in both public and private schools participate in the National School Lunch Program, administered by the Department of Agriculture.
For more information about the Department’s school nutrition programs, visit www.nj.gov/agriculture/divisions/fn/childadult/school.html.