PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
May 31, 2012

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

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Health and Senior Services Commissioner Announces 200th ShapingNJ Partner
Muscle Maker Grill is the Partnership's First Restaurant

On Friday, June 1, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd will welcome Shaping NJ's 200th partner-Muscle Maker Grill at the partnership's annual conference at the Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton Center for Health and Wellness in Mercerville.

ShapingNJ is a public/private partnership of now 200 organizations dedicated to curbing obesity in New Jersey.  Commissioner O'Dowd will deliver opening remarks at the conference at 9 a.m. In addition to announcing the 200th partner, the Commissioner will highlight some recent ShapingNJ successes.  Other partners will also share progress and discuss ways to increase healthy food options and physical activity in New Jersey. 

"I am happy to announce ShapingNJ's 200th partner-Muscle Maker Grill, a fast healthy  food chain approaching 200 franchises in New Jersey and five other states," said Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd.  "Although a fast food chain is a unique addition to the partnership-Muscle Maker Grill aims to make the healthy choice the easy choice in their restaurants by offering only whole grains, low fat meats and salad dressings and plenty of vegetables on their menus."

More than 200 attendees are expected at the conference. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton Center for Health and Wellness located at 3100 Quakerbridge Road, Mercerville.

"This new addition offers important diversity to the already varied partnership that is ShapingNJ," added Commissioner O'Dowd.   "Our efforts to keep people healthy and curb obesity will be more successful as more organizations, like Muscle Maker Grill, embrace the need to offer accessible, affordable and healthy choices to residents."

ShapingNJ, launched in 2009, is a collaborative effort of diverse stakeholders- including businesses, community-based organizations and national and state leaders-working together for policy and environmental changes that will make New Jersey a healthier place to live.   The program is coordinated by the Office of Nutrition & Fitness in DHSS with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

 "We are thrilled to be the first restaurant to become a ShapingNJ partner," said Rod Silva, founder of Muscle Maker Grill. "Our commitment to offering great-tasting, better-for-you selections that make it easy and enjoyable for people to eat healthy is a perfect match with ShapingNJ's mission. We look forward to working with ShapingNJ to spread awareness about the importance of healthy eating and an active lifestyle."

Muscle Maker Grill was founded in New Jersey in 1995 by Rod Silva with the goal of offering people a nutritious alternative to fast food restaurants. There are over 200 Muscle Maker Grill restaurants open or under development throughout the continental United States.