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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Local Pediatrician Discusses Childhood Nutrition at County Council Gathering



Local pediatrician Dr. Chris Canzoniero gave an overview of child obesity trends and offered tips on creating healthy nutritional habits for the entire family at a recent meeting of the Project Sussex Kids General Council.  Parents, caregivers, and social service professionals were on hand to discuss health and nutrition issues impacting local families.  Project Sussex Kids is the Sussex County Council for Young Children, a program funded by the New Jersey Department of Children & Families to address the needs of local families who are expecting or who are currently parenting children.  General Council meetings are held quarterly and are free and open to the public.

“Unfortunately, childhood obesity is becoming a very important topic and is one of the most pressing issues affecting children today,” commented Canzoniero.  “To me, it’s a simple problem but it is one that is very difficult to fix.  Having discussions like these with parents really empowers them to make changes.  Today’s presentation creates an opportunity to start that conversation.”  In addition to his pediatric practice, Canzoniero is a fellow and District Counselor of the New Jersey chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  He also serves on the Advisory Board of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and on the Advisory Board of Morristown Medical Center.

County Councils for Young Children have been established in all of the state’s 21 counties to bring together parents, caregivers, as well as health, education and social service professionals to enhance communication, coordination and collaboration of services.  The meetings of the General Council are designed to gather information from area residents about their concerns.  In addition to the presentation by Canzoniero, participants were updated on the progress of several projects in development on behalf of Project Sussex Kids throughout the county.   

Project Self-Sufficiency, the agency which spearheads the Project Sussex Kids effort, is seeking parents and caregivers to volunteer to join the General Council as well as participate in workgroups to identify community needs.  Groups meet locally to seek input about health and wellness, safety, community events and other topics.  The groups are divided according to the age or needs of the children in the family, including prenatal, special needs, families of infants, toddlers and preschool-aged children, families of school-aged children, and Spanish-speaking families.  To facilitate participation, meetings are held regionally in Newton, Sussex, Vernon, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg and Montague. 

Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey. The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 20,500 families, including over 30,000 children. 

To volunteer to participate in one of the Project Sussex Kids workgroups, call Project Self-Sufficiency at 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500.  Additional information is available at www.projectsussexkids.org.