RED BANK – Shaping Red Bank, a coalition working to prevent obesity and improve health and well-being, introduced a bilingual consumer health program today at El Guero Grocery, a bodega on the Westside of Red Bank.
Twenty third-grade students from Red Bank Charter School were the first to get a lesson on the coalition’s “Healthy Pick” program, which includes a visual system to assist consumers in selecting foods and beverages that are lower in salt, sugar and fat, and to encourage lean meat and poultry, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Through the Healthy Pick program, the Shaping Red Bank Coalition aims to make the healthy choice the easy choice for Red Bank families,” said Sandra Van Sant, health officer for the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission, a leader in organizing the coalition.
Yellow “Healthy Pick” stickers in Spanish and English readily identify the healthier options on the store shelves at El Guero and shoppers are also receiving bilingual healthy tip cards when they check out as part of the education program.
The program piloted by El Guero, is one of three healthy living initiatives developed by Shaping Red Bank and funded with a $7,500 grant from the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids. In addition to Healthy Pick, the coalition is working with faith-based communities to improve their members’ knowledge of good nutrition and with the borough Parks & Recreation Department to improve and promote walking in Red Bank.
The Coalition got its start over a year ago when the health commission, The Community YMCA, the Parker Family Health Center and the Red Bank Department of Parks and Recreation began working on the obesity prevention grant. Since then, several more local organizations have joined the local effort to prevent obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles among borough families.
“By working together, community organizations can better address the growing dual health crises of diabetes and obesity,” Van Sant said, noting that New Jersey has the highest rate of obesity in the country among children 2-5 years old.
The Shaping Red Bank Coalition is part of Shaping New Jersey, a statewide obesity prevention partnership of over 150 organizations dedicated to curbing obesity in New Jersey. Local organizations and businesses that comprise Shaping Red Bank are: the Brookdale Network, El Guero Grocery, Juanito’s, the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission, the Parker Family Health Center, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Red Bank schools, Red Bank Borough Department of Parks & Recreation, the Red Bank Library, the Red Bank Resource Network, Riverview Medical Center and The Community YMCA.