The New York Jets and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture are teaming up for a second year to encourage New Jersey school students to eat healthier and live more active lifestyles. Jets players D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Adrien Clarke and Secretary of Agriculture Charles Kuperus on Tuesday visited Port Reading School No. 9 in Woodbridge, one of the winners in this year's Eat Right, Move More program.
The Eat Right, Move More campaign urges Garden State students to eat the healthy foods in school that adhere to the state's new school nutrition policy. All school districts in the state have implemented the most comprehensive policy in the nation, which covers pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students and limits fat and sugar content in foods offered in a la carte lines, snack bars and vending machines, school stores and as part of on-campus fundraisers.
Six schools will be honored this school year for having the most creative meal selections using the school nutrition policy standards and for having exceptional wellness programs. More than 60 schools applied for the Eat Right, Move More contest, now in its second year. The prize for five of the winning schools — Port Reading School No. 9, Rittenberg Middle School in Egg Harbor City, Northfield Elementary in Northfield, Cecil S. Collins Elementary in Barnegat Township and Halsted Middle School in Newton — is a visit from Jets players. One school, Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, was randomly selected from among the six winning schools to be honored on the field of the Dec. 9 Jets game against the Cleveland Browns.
Port Reading School No. 9, which has 400 students, pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, fully implemented the state's nutrition policy this school year, offering many healthier menu items. There also is a variety of wellness programs. First-graders jump rope to raise money for the American Hearth Association; fifth-graders participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk-a-thon; fourth- and fifth-graders take part in the Fit Kids program with the local YMCA, where an exercise trainer comes in once a week; and students participate in an intramural sports program.
Ferguson, an offensive tackle and spokesman for the Eat Right, Move More program for the second straight year, is featured on posters in every school telling students, "When I have a healthy meal, it helps me play my best. Your school cafeteria has a variety of nutritious foods to keep you going all day long. So get up, eat right and move more!
"I am honored to be a part of the Eat Right, Move More program," said Ferguson. "I know from experience that good eating habits and regular exercise are key not only to becoming a professional athlete but for every kid to lead a healthier life."