# of Sites 0
# of Kids Served 0
Project Start 2008


The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey


New Jersey YMCA State Alliance

Project Summary

In 2008, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance created Healthy U – a collaborative initiative to combat the obesity epidemic among New Jersey children. The goal of the program is to prevent childhood obesity through nutrition education, increased physical activity, and family involvement. Healthy U utilizes the CATCH curriculum to promote healthy behavior changes at home and in school that can last a lifetime. In 2012, Healthy U began to expand beyond after school programs and into preschools and schools. Healthy U is the largest implementer of the CATCH curriculum in the country.


Since implementation at New Jersey YMCA’s in 2008, the CATCH program has yielded significant results across Healthy U, most notably an increase in children requesting favorite fruits and vegetables. Other outcomes include an increase in 30 minute play outside and a decrease in the number of hours spent watching television.

“When you break it down into Go-Slow-and-Whoa, [children] can start to recognize it at a really early age, and that starts to travel through the family and impact the parents.”

- Sue Cornell, Program Director, Healthy U

“We are here for healthy living, for youth development, for social responsibility, and Healthy U fits into all of those components.”

- Lisa Yanez, Child Development Director, YMCA Eastern Union County Five Points Branch

“We wanted something that would really be more wholistic in its approach so people would [recognize it] as the Horizon and YMCA’s program to combat childhood obesity and improve the health and well-being of New Jersey families.”

- Jonathan Pearson, Executive Director, Horizon Foundation for New Jersey

“By 2030, in New Jersey, the prediction is that 48% of our adults will be obese. It’s so important to start things now.”

- Mike Johnson, Director of Association Initiatives, YMCA Eastern Union County Five Points Branch

“I’ve been in health and physical education for 20 years and I’ve never seen a program have such an impact on my children. They’re looking to cook with mom and dad now. That really shows us that kids are internalizing these messages for life.”

- Judy LoBianco, Supervisor of PE & Health, South Orange-Maplewood School District

“If we think big, if we work together, what a difference we can all make to help kids, change lives, and maybe to save lives.”

- Rick Gorab, President and CEO, Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges
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The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey

The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey works to improve the health of New Jersey residents by promoting health prevention and education programs across the state.

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