TRENTON, N.J., Dec. 3 /PRNewswire/ — Two cities in Tennessee have adopted New Jersey's unique and successful "Mayors Wellness Campaign" (MWC) it was learned this week. An article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Monday reported that the cities of Athens and Englewood in the Volunteer State after their mayors learned of the New Jersey program through their health plan. (The article can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/69kabf )

The Mayors Wellness Campaign is an initiative of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (www.njhcqi.org) in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities (www.njslom.org). The MWC supports mayors as champions of community health. The goal is to increase opportunities for New Jersey residents to participate in daily physical activity with a long-term goal of reducing health care costs secondary to obesity. Through public-private partnerships, the MWC provides structure and resources for healthy community initiatives. By encouraging mayors to play a leadership role in supporting local opportunities for active, healthy lifestyles, the intent of the MWC is to improve health and make New Jersey a national leader in community-based health interventions.

"This is exactly what we had in mind when we developed the program," said David Knowlton, President of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. "We did not copy protect any of the elements of the Mayors Wellness Campaign because we wanted others to replicate our initiative and help get their own citizens on the path to active and healthy lifestyles. We could not be more proud that two Tennessee cities have decided to launch the program on their own. We hope others will take notice as well."

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, former Athens Mayor John Proffitt said he heard of the plan through their insurer. This past summer, Mayor Proffitt signed a pledge with the organization to begin a wellness campaign in Athens, Tennessee. The Times Free Press reported that the campaign quickly spread to Englewood, and the entire county in which the two cities are located is considering signing the pledge.

"This is wonderful news," said New Jersey State League of Municipalities Executive Director William G. Dressel. "Mayors can do so much on a local level to improve the health of the citizens who reside in their towns and cities. I plan on reaching out to my counterpart at the Tennessee Municipal League to see how we might work together cooperatively to spread this program throughout the state."

More than 250 New Jersey mayors are active participants in the Mayors Wellness Campaign. In 2006, each of the 566 mayors in New Jersey's municipalities were mailed the MWC "Toolbox," a manual designed to guide them through the implementation of wellness programs in their communities. Broken down into four major sections — Youth in Motion; Employees in Motion; Seniors in Motion; and Communities in Motion — the Toolbox outlines programs that can be directly used in every community in New Jersey. The Toolbox can also be found on the MWC website at www.mayorswellnesscampaign.org.

Contact: Donald Sico 609-351-3591 or Judy Doyle 609-393-4931

SOURCE Mayors Wellness Campaign

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