Morristown, Beachwood Named “Towns To Watch”

Pennington, NJ — Today, the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute announced two municipalities, Englewood and Franklin Lakes, and their mayors, Frank Huttle, III and Frank Bivona respectively, are designated as this year’s “New Jersey Healthy Towns” by the Mayors Wellness Campaign, a program of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities.

“Being named a Healthy Town by the Mayors Wellness Campaign is terrific recognition for the years of hard work we have put into raising awareness and promoting health and well-being in our community,” said Franklin Lakes Mayor Frank Bivona. “Thanks go to the countless volunteers and the leadership of Dina Robinson, our Mayors Wellness Coordinator. Franklin Lakes has always been a beautiful place to live and raise families and now we can say we are a healthy town dedicated to LIVING HEALTHY.”

In Englewood, walking programs and health lecture series have improved fitness, health literacy, and brought a sense of togetherness to the community. Upon hearing news of Englewood’s win, Mayor Frank Huttle III said, “I am very happy to have Englewood receive this designation. We have been trying to focus our residents on healthy lifestyle choices and this designation will help us in our educational goals for 2015.”

David Knowlton, President and CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, noted the Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC) began in 2006 in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities to leverage local leadership to prioritize health and wellness in communities statewide. Today MWC has grown to 358 municipalities––almost two-thirds of the state’s 566 towns.

“We believe in the power of mayors to serve as catalysts, bringing together various local players to tackle health issues in their communities,” says Knowlton. “The recent surge in applicants for the Healthy Town designation shows the commitment of local leadership to making healthy choices easier and popular in these towns.”

“We had a record number of Healthy Town applicants this year, but Englewood and Franklin Lakes truly stood out. The two towns, although both in Bergen County, are so different,” said Janan Dave, Wellness Coordinator for the Mayors Wellness Campaign, “and their campaigns reflect their individual municipality’s needs, something we encourage all towns and cities to do.”

New Award: Healthy Towns to Watch

Due to the number of applications for the 2014 “New Jersey Healthy Town” designation, Ms. Dave selected two additional “Healthy Towns to Watch” – Morristown in Morris County and Beachwood in Ocean County, led by Mayor Timothy Dougherty and Mayor Ron Roma, respectively. These two towns have campaigns that are less than a year old, but are being recognized for their vibrant local Mayors Wellness Campaigns. “They are models for how to easily and quickly start a successful campaign,” Ms. Dave said.

Read on to see some examples from Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC) health and wellness programming in Englewood, Franklin Lakes, Morristown and Beachwood.

Highlights from Englewood’s MWC include:

  • Englewood to Paris – A walking program for all residents. Englewood set a goal to walk 3,316 miles (the total distance from Englewood, NJ to Paris, France) as a community. Residents could submit miles individually or through group walks that were held weekly at a local park. Weekly motivational messages and healthy tips were sent via email. Englewood exceeded their goal and actually walked the distance from Englewood to Poland!
  • Health Lecture Series on various topics ranging from breast cancer imaging to healthy snacking for families.
  • “Thin It to Win It” challenge – a 12-week program designed to help each participant reach a healthier weight through education and support of healthy lifestyle modifications. Each team competed for the total highest percentage of weight lost by the end of the 12-week challenge.

Highlights from Franklin Lakes’ MWC include:

  • Meeting with Valley Hospital to discuss their Community Health Needs assessment to craft an informed Mayors Wellness Campaign focused on combatting obesity and heart disease.
  • Working with local food establishments to take a “Wellness Pledge” and to display the local Mayors Wellness logo on their menus to highlight healthy eating choices.
  • Hanging a Mayors Wellness Campaign banner in the local Stop & Shop that features healthy choices, making it quick and easy for residents to find the healthiest option.
  • Installing outdoor fitness equipment in the local park.

Highlights from Beachwood’s MWC include:

  • Beachwood Elementary School Wellness Week with wellness prizes and healthy eating presentations hosted by the local ShopRite dietitian.
  • Free 4-week healthy cooking demonstrations.
  • Weekly yoga on the beach.
  • 8-week walking series led by Mayor Ronald Roma.

Highlights from Morristown’s MWC include:

  • Wellness: Mo-Town! event featuring health screenings, spa and wellness treatments, eco-friendly vendors, fitness classes, and music.
  • Twice-weekly running club co-hosted with Morristown Running Company.
  • Fitness classes and wellness seminars for seniors.
  • Weekly morning walks, community rides, town clean up days, and healthy dinners.

Municipalities are eligible to apply for the “New Jersey Healthy Town” designation by meeting the following requirements:

  • Participation in the Mayors Wellness Campaign for one year or more;
  • Establishment of sustainable health and wellness programs for youth, seniors, employees, and general community; and
  • Willingness to share their program information with other communities throughout the state.

To learn more about the Healthy Towns and see past winners, click here.