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NJ 5-A-Day Coalition and the NJ NETS
Partner to Communicate the 5-A-Day Message
For Immediate Release: Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic


The New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services are the newest members of the New Jersey Nets "Hoops Zone" team, thanks to an innovative partnership between the New Jersey 5-A-Day Coalition, of which the agencies are members, and the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Through Hoops Zone's travels around the state during the off-season, youngsters will see how important the "5-A-Day" message is to basketball professionals and sports fans as well. The focus of the 5-A-Day effort is to encourage New Jerseyans to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. "Research shows that eating five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of many diseases and illnesses including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke," said Art Brown, Jr., New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture. "We are delighted that the Nets have joined us in promoting the positive benefits of fruits and vegetables for young and old alike." The partnership between 5-A-Day and the Nets sounded like a winner from the first time it was suggested by New Jersey 5-A-Day Coalition member Jeff Schilling, Director of RLB Food Distributors, West Caldwell, since many of the Nets' players focus on healthy diets and exercise as part of their daily routine. It's a sure bet that children will be more apt to try unfamiliar fruits and vegetables if they know their sports heroes include such foods in their diets. By partnering with the New Jersey Nets, the Garden State's children will get a positive message about good nutrition. The New Jersey Nets Hoops Zone truck will incorporate the message into its activities and the Coalition plans to exhibit during Nets home games during the 2000-2001 season. This new medium for the 5-A-Day message joins existing venues including health promotion activities conducted at Newark's after-school program, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Community Youth Organizations, urban recreation centers statewide, and other activities and events in which the Coalition and its members participate year round. The New Jersey Coalition and its members participate in activities statewide throughout the year. Last year the slate included the 1999 5-A-Day Across America Tour, Septemberfest in Mercer County, as well as other activities sponsored by county extension services, school districts, supermarkets, and healthcare organizations. Planned activities for this year include statewide events during National 5-A-Day Week, September 10 - 16, 2000, where the theme will be "Fruits and Vegetables by Popular Demand."

For information about joining the NJ 5-A-Day Coalition or upcoming events, contact Jacqueline Feldman, NJ Department of Agriculture at (609) 292-5567. To become a licensed 5-A-Day sponsor or for other information about the 5-A-Day for Better Health Program, contact the Produce for Better Health Foundation at (302) 235-ADAY or visit the Foundation's web site at http://www.5aday.com.