Health care initiative is a great CATCH in Spotswood

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SPOTSWOOD – A new health care initiative is catching on in Spotswood.

According to the 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by Saint Peter’s University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, increasing healthier behaviors in youth is a top priority in Middlesex County.

To that end, the hospitals created the Community Health Consortium for Central Jersey (CHCCJ), which developed the Physical Activity and Nutrition Workgroup led by the Raritan Valley YMCA.

Together, the CHCCJ and the Raritan Valley YMCA partnered with the Spotswood School District to implement the Coordinated Approach to Child’s Health (CATCH) curriculum in Spotswood’s afterschool program (CARES).

CATCH focuses on increasing physical activity, encouraging consumption of fruit and vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods and promoting behavior changes in children and their parents, leading to healthier lifestyles.

Through a grant from The Horizon Foundation’s Healthy U program, the YMCA was able to purchase more than $2,000 worth of equipment and provide training to 26 of the CARES staff.

Over the course of the program, the school district hopes to see reduced body mass indexes, an increase in physical activity levels and healthy nutrition choices among the 209 students that will be participating.

“On behalf of the Board of Education, thank you! The implementation of this program is timely and we thank the staff at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the Raritan Valley YMCA and The Horizon Foundation’s Healthy U Program for coordinating this effort and for the donation of equipment and training,” Superintendent of Schools Scott Rocco said.