Menendez, Booker Announce $800K for Rutgers to Combat Childhood Obesity

Menendez, Booker Announce $800K for Rutgers to Combat Childhood Obesity


U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker today announced that Rutgers has been awarded $800,000 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for their efforts to combat childhood obesity through their HomeStyle Education Program. The HomeStyle Education Program is an online, in-home family intervention, which enables and motivates English- and Spanish-speaking parents to create home environments and lifestyle practices to prevent childhood obesity, focusing on children 2-11 years old.

 “Promoting healthy eating habits and lifestyles among families and children is essential to creating a healthy future for our country,” said Sen. Menendez. “I applaud the team at Rutgers for creating a project that will have such a long-lasting impact on New Jersey’s children, and I will continue to fight for the necessary federal funds for Rutgers to maintain its status as one of the best research universities in the world.”

 “Time and time again, research has shown that when children have the opportunity to learn healthy eating habits, parents are likely to see their children perform better in school and improve their mental, social, and physical well-being,” said Sen. Booker.  “I’m pleased to see such a well-respected New Jersey institution like Rutgers take this important step in the battle to end childhood obesity by providing low-income families with critical online resources to help create healthier homes and lifestyles.”

HomeStyles is a series of self-guided sessions that parents can access online on their own. The main goal is to get parents to change their home environments as well as their lifestyles with actions that are quick, easy and fun by getting the whole family involved. 

The project is divided into two segments:

  • Segment 1 focuses on families with preschoolers (ages 2-5) and intends to teach families how to establish better habits.
  • Segment 2, focuses to the developmentally unique needs of middle childhood (6-11 years). 

Once enrolled, parents spend about 15 minutes each month reviewing one of 12 guides that focus on health or safety. Topics include: eating together as a family, rethinking beverage choices, dealing with picky eaters, chemical and pesticide safety, washing hands correctly, promoting adequate sleep and trading TV time for active play. 

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