Mayors Wellness Campaign

The mission of the Mayors Wellness Campaign is to equip mayors and other key leaders with the tools to develop and implement active-living initiatives in their communities with the ultimate goal of improving health and reducing the skyrocketing health care costs that come with the obesity problem in New Jersey.
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Mayors' Letter

Dear Participants of the “Toxic Waistlines” competition,


I am very excited to be hosting the “Toxic Waistlines” competition in Bernards Township. I encourage each and every one of you to take advantage of this fun and successful way to lose the extra, unhealthy inches off your waists. Our area of New Jersey is made up of hardworking, dedicated individuals, who together make up a strong collective group, capable of solving the most difficult of problems. By taking an interest in this competition, you are choosing to fight for the health and happiness of our entire community.


With your success, you will be sending the message that we will no longer stand for an unhealthy community, a message essential to the future of our citizens. This competition has been proven to be a great way to shed inches from your waists, and I believe our community will only add to this great success. Any one of you could be the next winner, awarded not only with $500, but with the start of a lifestyle proven to be one of good health and longevity.  I’m sure the motivation and dedication received by all of you, as participants, will encourage many others around the area to start living healthy by providing them with fantastic results.


I know that all of you can reach your goals of excellent health and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish. The sky is the limit. Stay positive and get on track. I know you can do it!


Thank you,

Mayor Scott Spitzer

Letter from NJHCQI President

The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI) is a public foundation dedicated to addressing issues of health care quality in New Jersey. In this effort, we have collaborated with both public and private entities that have an interest in improved health care quality. Our strategy has centered on identifying best practices which will improve quality and working with those responsible for care to implement these best practices. We also inform

New Jersey citizens about those providers and health care organizations who embrace high standards of quality so health care consumers can shop thoughtfully for health care.

We now, with these same stakeholder groups, bring this collaborative, best practice strategy to bear on obesity and inactivity, a crisis for our state and our nation.

Consider the following:

Approximately 62% of U.S. adults and 34% of U.S. children are overweight or obese

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “The obesity rate has doubled since the late 1970s. The heavy are getting heavier. That's particularly true of adults, but it's also true of kids."

Obesity has become an epidemic in America and in New Jersey and the consequences are startling:

Eight out of ten adults are likely to become overweight or obese as they age, putting them at a higher risk for hospitalization, diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.

One in three U.S. teens are physically unfit, and inactive/obese children are more likely to develop depression and poor self-esteem as well as cardiac and bone problems.

One-fourth of all family trips are one mile or less, but three-fourths of these trips are made by car

Obese employees cost employers $460 to $2,500 annually in medical expenditures and work absences.

Treatment of medical conditions related to obesity cost NJ taxpayers $39 million in 2003.

Obesity adds $93 billion to the nation's yearly medical care bill.

The good news is many recognize these health care risks and want to do something about it:

More than half of parents say that their children want to exercise more.

30 percent of parents say that their children want to lose weight.

40 percent of Americans say they would commute by bike if safe facilities were available.

Given the severity of these concerns and the willingness of people to do something about it, the NJHCQI has created a program to attack this problem:

The Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC) has provided a toolbox to help local mayors implement wellness programs in their communities. This toolbox includes self-assessment tools, suggestions for program evaluation and a variety of best practice programs they can implement.

This effort could not have been undertaken without the wisdom and support of Bill Dressel, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, who was an early advocate for bringing resources directly to communities.

Also critical to our effort was the vision and leadership of Aetna who provided the initial funding necessary to undertake this effort.

We see this effort as an ongoing process of improving and enhancing the information and programs New Jersey communities can provide their citizens to improve their health and health care. I hope you will visit our website ( often with high expectations for the resources you will find there. With your help, we can build a healthy future for our state.

David L. Knowlton


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