MEDIA ADVISORY – Lawmakers And Health Care Experts To Hold Formal Kickoff For Cutting The Fat Out Of Government Campaign

Program Will Allow Legislative Employees, Elected Officials to Make Healthier Choices, Reduce Health Care Costs Associated with Obesity to Taxpayers

TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg and a bipartisan group of lawmakers will join officials from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center at a news conference TOMORROW, TUESDAY, JANUARY 25 to formally kick-off the “Cutting the Fat Out of Government” Wellness Campaign at the New Jersey Statehouse.

“This is a program that has the potential to save lives,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “By empowering elected officials and legislative employees to make healthier choices, we can hopefully inspire other New Jersey residents to follow our lead, while we do our part to lower health care costs associated with the treatment of obesity and obesity-related medical problems and create a healthier, more productive State workforce. Our goal is to reduce the size of government, one waistline at a time, and so far, we’re off to a great start.”

The 2011 “Cutting the Fat Out of Government” Wellness Challenge is a partnership between the State Legislature and Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, a national leader in wellness education which was recently recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama for their efforts to address the obesity epidemic. Newark Beth Israel, an affiliate of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System, has run a 12-week “Beth Challenge” in the past to work with hospital employees and greater Newark-area churches to allow employees and churchgoers to realize their weight loss goals. The “Beth Challenge” received the New Jersey Hospital Association award for community outreach for its partnership with a local fitness center in helping community members to improve their lifestyle and lose weight.

The “Cutting the Fat” program, which will run from January 20 until the annual Budget deadline on June 30, will be open to any legislative employee or elected official wishing to participate. Enrollees will have the support of a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, and will participate in monthly weigh-ins to monitor their progress towards a healthier life. Participants will also engage in fitness and nutrition classes, and will organize into weight-loss groups to support each other in their personal fitness and nutrition goals.

On Thursday of last week, the “Cutting the Fat Out of Government” program had its initial weigh-in, and 55 lawmakers and legislative employees weighed in, and took the first steps to making 2011 their healthiest year yet. A follow-up weigh-in session, for people who couldn’t make it to Thursday’s session, will be held Tuesday morning before the news conference, and the first nutrition class, conducted by Barbara Mintz, the Director of Clinical Nutrition and Wellness for Newark Beth Israel, will be held following the news conference.

The news conference will be held at 11:30 AM in Committee Room 3 of the Statehouse Annex in Trenton.