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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
New Jersey

New Jersey Data Fact Sheet 
An at-a-glance document for rates of obesity, physical activity, nutrition and breastfeeding in New Jersey (Updated August 2013).

The Status of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity in New Jersey
This surveillance profile documents the progress of ShapingNJ since 2008. The document presents the guiding goals of the project along with key data points and trends to measure New Jersey's progress toward those goals. This also releases new data from the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey about environmental factors related to obesity, nutrition and physical activity. View the Data Highlights page here.


Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
Conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this national survey provides state and national level data about several topics, including the amount of fruits and vegetables eaten by individuals. Fruit and vegetable data is available for odd numbered years.

Fruit and Vegetable Indicator Report
This summary report, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outlines national and state  information about fruit and vegetable consumption as well as the policies and environmental supports present in each state that make accessing fruits and vegetables easier.

Children and Schools

New Jersey Student Health Survey (NJ SHS) and Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
The New Jersey Department of Education administers the NJ SHS every other year (odd years) and collects information from high school students about health related behaviors, including the amount of fruits and vegetables and sugary drinks consumed. The results of the NJ SHS are included in the national reporting for the YRBS when enough students participate in the NJ SHS.

Student Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS)
This study is conducted every six years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and collects state level information about the policies and practices in schools that help kids live active, healthy lifestyles.

School Health Profiles (SHP)
A series of surveys designed to provide state level information about school policies and practices around healthy eating, active living, and tobacco-free schools.  

Children's Food Environment State Indicator Report
A national and state-level summary report that includes data related to the amount of healthy foods children eat and drink as well as children's ability to have healthy foods in their schools and communities.


National Immunization Survey (NIS)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annually conduct the NIS to obtain national and state-level data about the rate of breastfeeding, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding and the rate of formula supplementation.

Breastfeeding Report Card
This four page fact sheet outlines key national and state data points related to breastfeeding, including overall breastfeeding rates, exclusive breastfeeding rates, Baby-Friendly Hospitals, and other policy and environmental supports for breastfeeding.

Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC)
A national survey conducted every other year (odd years) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that examines how well hospitals are meeting quality of care standards for mother-baby care.