Grantee Blog 2020

Adopting Policy Changes for Healthier Meetings

Menu Assessments

The Issue

Poor diet and sedentary habits among the physical challenged contribute to obesity and chronic health issues.  This fact is often overlooked by community support and social groups that serve seniors, veterans, and the disabled.  Common food and drink provided at meeting and party events include pizza and soda, cake and cookies, chips and snack foods high in sodium, fat and sugar.  These goodies are also low in nutritional value.  Ironically, this population often has less access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  As a healthy eating strategy, the YMCA will promote policy change for meetings and events to providers of services to the elderly and physically disabled.  Although most senior and veteran groups are not meeting during COVID-19, it may be a good time to assess.

The Goal

Y staff will draft a position paper that calls for policy creation and a change in menu selection.  An addendum providing sample meeting policies and suggested food items will be attached.  Y staff will contact with agency administrators who serve the disabled population to explain the project and seek menu evaluation.  To stimulate policy adoption and change, incentive gifts will be offered in exchange for signed policy documents.

Policy Changes Explained

The Y has had success with a similar approach in getting summer youth camp operators to examine and reevaluate their food and beverage service.  With this experience and the support of our partners, we are confident in that we can impact those serving adults with physical limitations, disabilities, and mobility issues.  The Healthier Middlesex Coalition will support our work, as they are charged by 2 area hospitals with finding solutions to problems identified in the county community health improvement survey.  Their marketing and distribution capabilities will help make the project known in the public health arena.  Rutgers Public Health majors will assist with drafting the position paper and addendum.  Together we will strive to remove barriers to healthy food options.


About the Grantee

Raritan Valley YMCA

The Raritan Valley YMCA was founded in New Brunswick, NJ in 1867. The Y features a child care center, day camp, wellness center and aquatic programming, with numerous of-site community programs and outreach efforts. The YMCA serves 13 surrounding Middlesex County communities, embracing diversity and collaborative efforts to deliver needed programs and community health improvements.