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Community Assessment of

Nutrition for Kids Younger than Teens in

New Brunswick, NJ

Madeline Holt
Micaela Lang
Katie Scurato
Qiuyi Shan
Jasmine Vazquez
Megan Yuen

October 25, 2018

Target Population:
Kids Younger than Teens
According to the US Census, the New Brunswick population was estimated to be
57,073 people as of July 2017.
● 23.7% of the population is under 18 years old (about 12,578 individuals)
● 7.9% of the population is under 5 years old (about 4,192 individuals)
● It is estimated that there are 9,494 children under the age of 12

According to the US Census’ 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year

● 83% of the children in New Brunswick are of Hispanic or Latino origin.
● 96.9% of the over 9,000 children enrolled in school attend public school
● 43% of children live in households with Supplemental Security Income
(SSI), cash public assistance income, or Food Stamp/SNAP benefits
● 42.3% of children live in households with incomes below the poverty level.
Nutrition and Health Issues for Kids in NB

● Obesity Rates among young public school children: 48% in New Brunswick
vs. 21% national average
● 88% of New Brunswick children do not meet requirements for vegetable
● In addition there is frequent consumption of energy-dense foods like fast food
by non-hispanic black children
● Approximately half of New Brunswick families report limited availability of
fresh produce at their regular grocery store, and cost is the main factor in
choice of a food store
● Almost all children do not meet the the guidelines of being physically active
for 60 minutes per day
Nutrition-Related Health Problems for Kids
1. Low income kids in New Brunswick, NJ
a. Obesity (48%: 49% boys and 44% girls) and dental problems (13%)
2. People of New Brunswick
a. Obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure
3. Low income kids in the county (Middlesex)
a. Obesity (18%), dental problems
4. Low income kids in New Jersey
a. Obesity, deficiencies, dental problems, type II diabetes
5. Low income kids in the US
a. Obesity (25%: 32% boys and 31% girls), type II diabetes, deficiencies (vit D, Ca))

Not enough education, money, resources, health insurance

Nutrition Resources in the
New Brunswick Community
& Corner Stores

Food Pantries

Soup Kitchens

International Supermarket Bravo Supermarket
on Remsen Street
Analysis of Supermarkets & Corner Stores in NB

● Accept SNAP benefits and WIC

○ SNAP benefits apply for most
foods except pre-prepared hot
● Have credit card minimum rates
● Many located on the walk home from
● Food located near cash register are
high in fat & refined sugar
● Processed convenience foods are pricy
● Variety of unconventional fresh
WIC: Women, Infants & Children
Program for:

● Low-moderate income pregnant women

● Recently delivered women
● Breastfeeding women
● Infants and children under 5 years old who are at nutrition risk

Where to use WIC benefits:

Most supermarkets & the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market

Foods Eligible under WIC: 100% fruit juice, cow’s milk, fortified cereals
Market Bucks =
June-October vouchers to
match every
dollar spent up
to $10
Saturdays Accept WIC
and SNAP
Nutrition Resources in the New Brunswick Schools

Free Breakfast on the


Can be free or
reduced depending on
income levels
Physical Activity Resources in New Brunswick

● Not a lot of parks/playgrounds

present besides those
associated with schools and
daycares in some areas

● Recess at Lincoln Annex is 30

minutes long
Summer Program Integrating Nutrition and
Physical Activity
PLAY S.A.F.E Bobadilla Summer Soccer
Program Academy
Major Organizations, Agencies and Services

● New Brunswick Tomorrow - Children & Youth Program (age 0-21)

● New Brunswick Youth Services System - PLAY S.A.F.E.
● NJ WIC Program - for NJ low income pregnant women, breastfeeding women,
recently delivered women, infants & children who are at nutrition risk
● New Brunswick Community Food Alliance
○ Increase availability and affordability of healthy foods
○ Support more fresh food to be grown & available in the community
● Johnson&Johnson - has funded projects to improve health & expand access to fresh
foods, including New Brunswick Community Farmers Markets
Major Organizations, Agencies and Services

● New Brunswick Public Schools - Nutrition Programs (Aramark Education)

○ Wellness Lesson of the Month - posters
○ Healthy Bites: Sampling Program
○ Just for Elementary Kids
○ National School Lunch & School Breakfast Programs - all New Brunswick
public school students are eligible for free breakfast&lunch(USDA, 2016)
■ Summer Nutrition? Low participation in summer programs; Not all
children are excited to eat the food that is provided
● Ebenezer Baptist Church: Soup kitchen, non-perishable food
● Emanuel Lutheran Church: Food pantry
● Salvation Army: Food pantry for emergency cases ONLY
Major Organizations, Agencies and Services

Elijah’s Promise
- Soup kitchen, health services outreach for people with HIV/AIDS
- Provides 300 meals a day & over 100,000 meals a year
- Partnerships with Community Food Bank of NJ, Farmers Against Hunger, Feeding
New Brunswick Network, New Brunswick Food Alliance, New Brunswick Community
Farmers Market, NBT, etc.
New Brunswick’s Regularly Scheduled Events
Current Patterns

As stated before, 96.9% of the New Brunswick children enrolled in school attend
public school - therefore government funded, public school programs are crucial.

● National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program (K-12)

● After school program - Youth Services System (operates at eight schools
within New Brunswick for children aged 6-15)
● In the summer: The Summer Food Service Program (here, Play SAFE)
Resources Near New Brunswick

● Highland Park Reformed Church

○ Collects and distributes food & clothing donations
○ Global Grace Cafe; family and culturally-accepting environment
● Raritan Valley YMCA, East Brunswick, NJ
○ Closest YMCA to New Brunswick
● Community Food Bank, Hillside, NJ
○ Major collector and distributor of unperishable foods in the state of NJ
Opinion Leaders and Politicians

New Brunswick City Council

● President Glenn Fleming
● Vice President John Anderson
● Member Kevin Egan
● Member Rebecca Escobar
● Member Suzanne M. Sicora Ludwig

Make decisions regarding city functions

(e.g. road shutdowns, budgeting, etc)
Opinion Leaders and Politicians

New Brunswick Community Food Alliance

● Johnny Malpica and Doug Shepler
(Advocacy and Policy Co-Chairs)
● Mariam Merced and Yvette Molina
(Community Engagement Co-Chairs)
● Keith Jones II (New Brunswick City
Government Representative)

Elijah’s Promise: Chef Elizabeth Sadi

60+ churches in New Brunswick

● Food pantries and community gardens
Opinion Leaders and Politicians

New Brunswick Public Schools

● Board of Education: Dr. Dale Cardwell
● Superintendent: Dr. Aubrey A Johnson

School Principals
● Lincoln Elementary: JoAnn Kocis
● Livingston Elementary: Nadine Sanchez
● Redshaw Elementary: Iris Castillo
● Roosevelt Elementary: Tammy Lavelle
● Woodrow Wilson Elementary: Purnima Vadhera
Barriers to Good Nutrition for New Brunswick Kids
● Issues with quality of food
available in local stores
● NB residents less likely to have
health insurance
● Low income families:
constrained food budgets
● Older siblings taking care of
younger ones
● Parent’s Perspective
Objectives for Combating Barriers to Good Nutrition

From Rutgers New Brunswick Childhood Obesity Study:

“Effective interventions will require changes in the neighborhood environment by creating new
opportunities, improving existing features, and addressing barriers associated with practicing healthy
behaviors. Efforts are also needed to raise awareness about the issue of childhood obesity and
associated behaviors among parents and caregivers.”

● Proposing ways of improving the nutritional quality of lunch at public schools

○ Less processed foods
○ Increase fruit and vegetable portions
○ Giving kids enough time to eat lunch and during the appropriate time of day
● In addition, general factors in New Brunswick could be addressed to
encourage healthier eating and more physical activity
○ More access to supermarkets and stores with produce
○ Encourage more physical activity at school, and make open spaces more available for children
○ Address safety issues such as crime rates
Combating Barriers to Good Nutrition

School outreach
Send home letters and emails to parents to inform them of school meal programs in
both English & Spanish

Summer meals
School districts are required by NJ state law to inform parents about summer meals in
their community, if more than half of students qualify for subsidized school meals.

Community engagement
Partner with local organizations to distribute flyers through schools, libraries, food
pantries, child care centers, recreation programs, housing authorities, supermarkets,
hospitals and other community locations.

Media/Social Media outreach

Make social media posts and send emails to local PTA leaders to get the word out to