“Get Fit Day” Draws over 450 People for A Day of Fun Physical Activities

(Pictured L to R ): Ian Christianson, NY Red Bulls Player; James W. Horne, Jr. UWGUC President & CEO; Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA; Eric Stevenson, NY Red Bulls Player; Michael Bustamante, NY Red Bulls Player
Over 450 residents attended the City of Elizabeth, "Get Fit Day", which was planned in response to Michelle Obama’s, “Let’s Move!” initiative.  Officials from the City of Elizabeth and United Way of Greater Union County have recognized the lack of physical activity as a lifestyle choice and the resulting obesity epidemic, as a growing concern among the city’s residents. "Get Fit Day’s", main goal was to bring awareness to the city’s growing obesity issues and to teach residents the importance of physical activity in daily life. Many children and families enjoyed a day of physical and sports activities at the City’s Waterfront Field, 185 Front Street, Elizabeth, New Jersey. 

Data shows that in the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. According to the Let’s Move! web site, the numbers are even higher in African American, Haitian and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don't solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.

“The highlights of the day were the wide variety of activities to choose from, driving home the message that getting and staying fit is easy if we incorporate fun physical activities into our daily lives,” stated James W. Horne, Jr., President/CEO, United Way of Greater Union County.

“I really liked the soccer clinic. The players made it really fun and I learned a few new tricks.  It was great,” stated one of the children who attended the soccer clinic provided by New York Red Bulls.  

The NY Red Bulls training teams and players organized clinics and taught over 200 children soccer basics and safety.  More importantly, many of the children expressed an interest in continuing to learn or become involved in soccer. Trinitas health care professionals distributed soccer warm-up and general fitness information and conducted health screenings and body mass index calculations. Families enjoyed "Get Fit" activities run by fitness groups including; Club Metro who conducted Boot Camp exercises; YMCA who provided sessions on exercise and healthy living, United Youth of New Jersey performed drill team exercises; and Training Today’s Athlete lead Combine Drills. 

Participating in the activities and creating enthusiasm were special guests including Giovanna Drpic who served as the MC.  Drpic is the host of “Money & Main$treet” on FiOS1 News (NJ/LI).  Also in attendance was Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA as well as Pageant Queens representing various cultural groups throughout the City of Elizabeth including Portugal, Dominican Republic, and Columbia. 

Both Drpic and Wolf enthusiastically lead some of the children in a series of drills and exercises. Councilwoman-at-large, Patricia Perkins-Auguste points out, “having high profile people at the event really helped us bring awareness to our residents that it’s important to exercise and stay fit.” 

Children enjoyed surprise appearances by heroes Captain America and Wonder Woman as well as Sparky the City’s Fire department mascot. In addition to face painting and bounce houses, children enjoyed music and many other fun activities. 

FREE to the community, local leaders from the City of Elizabeth, along with United Way of Greater Union County, planned the day’s events, including, Mayor J. Christian Bollwage; Councilwoman-at-Large, Patricia Perkins–Auguste; First Ward Councilman, Carlos Torres; Councilman, Manny Grova, as well as the city’s Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Youth.

Sponsors and supporters include PSEG, Wakefern Food Corporation, Elizabeth Development Company, Atalanta, New England Motor Freight, CIS, Elizabeth Housing Authority, Target, and USA Architect.  Participating organizations include PROCEED, Drake College, Ground Works Elizabeth, Elizabeth Packers, Elizabeth Fire Department, Elizabeth Police Department, PNC Bank, Portuguese Instruction Club, Lions Club, and Leo Club.

For more information about "Get Fit Day", please call United Way of Greater Union County (908) 353-7171, ext. 129.

About Let’s Move! (source http://www.letsmove.gov/learn-facts/epidemic-childhood-obesity).
Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let's Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices. Providing healthier foods in our schools. Ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food. And, helping kids become more physically active.