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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
July 14, 2011

Mary E. O'Dowd, M.P.H.

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Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

DHSS Promotes Healthy Eating at Urban Community Garden


(Trenton)   - Acting Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Tina Tan yesterday visited a unique urban hospital garden on the grounds of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) that will provide greater access to healthy foods to the residents of Newark.

“By increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, this community garden is helping residents to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” said Acting Commissioner Tan.  “The Department of Health and Senior Services applauds Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Garden State Urban Farms for their efforts in making fresh produce available to the city’s residents.”

Along with the hospital-based urban community garden in Newark there are an additional 144 farmers markets providing fresh produce across New Jersey.  DHSS offers support to help qualifying individuals purchase produce from these markets. 

The DHSS WIC (Women, Infant and Children) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program runs from June 1 through September 30 and provides $20 worth of checks to eligible mothers to purchase fresh produce at farmers’ markets in New Jersey. The program currently serves 53,000 people.  Program and eligibility information is available at

The DHSS Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program offers $20 worth of checks for eligible seniors to purchase fresh produce at farmers’ markets in New Jersey. The program currently serves 53,000 seniors.  Program and eligibility information is available at

For more information on ShapingNJ and the DHSS Office of Nutrition and Fitness, please visit:

The Newark hospital partnered with Garden State Urban Farms, a nonprofit organization that works to provide low-cost, healthy food in urban areas throughout New Jersey.  Garden State Urban Farms is a member of ShapingNJ, a statewide program coordinated through the DHSS Office of Nutrition and Fitness. More than 150 nutrition, fitness and health organizations have partnered with DHSS on this initiative to promote healthy people and healthy communities.

 “Community partnerships that promote wellness are an important part of the mission of The Beth,” said John A. Brennan, M.D., Executive Director of NBIMC and the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey.  “Prevention and wellness are obtained primarily through healthy lifestyles, which is why two years ago we began an initiative that connected the hospital’s childhood obesity program to the community by linking our clinical programs to the outdoor garden and starting The Beth Challenge.”

The opening of the community garden was attended by officials from NBIMC, the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, Garden State Urban Farms as well as local political leaders in Newark. 


About NBIMC       

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, (NBIMC), a 673-bed regional care teaching hospital, provides comprehensive health care to its local communities and well beyond.  NBIMC has more than 800 physicians, 3,200 employees and 150 volunteers with over 300,000 outpatient visits and 25,000 admissions annually.  NBMI is fifth in the nation in the number of heart transplants with better than expected outcomes, has the only lung transplant program in New Jersey, and combined with Saint Barnabas Medical Center, both Saint Barnabas Health Care System affiliates, is third in the nation for kidney transplants, by volume.  To learn more, visit us on line at


About CHoNJ        
Children's Hospital of New Jersey, located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and part of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, is the state's premier hospital caring for children, with specialized services to treat ill and injured children from newborn to adolescent years and
has the most comprehensive pediatric cardiac care program in the region as well as preventive programs that promote wellness in the community. For a referral to a pediatrician or pediatric specialist, please call 1-888-SBHS-123.  To learn more, visit us on line at 

Beth Challenge

The “Beth Challenge,” is a successful weight loss program and contest designed by NBIMC, and offered to Beth employees and other companies to reduce individual weight, improve health, and helps them to achieve healthy changes in their lifestyle.  The three-part, 12-week Weight Loss and Fitness Challenge, which started in 2009, includes education and fitness training under the supervision of a registered dietitian/certified personal trainer from NBIMC.  Since the program began in 2009, employees of NBIMC have lost more than 7,000 pounds and Beth partners have lost more than 3,000 pounds.  The Beth Challenge has expanded and is now underway at the Statehouse in Trenton. 

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