Grant Dollars For C-U Promote Healthy Living
By Jeff Bossert
Health officials in Champaign County will use federal grant dollars to combat obesity and start up smoking cessation programs.
Champaign-Urbana’s Public Health District is among the 21 recipients of the ‘We Choose Health’ Community Transformation Grant.
As of 2009, more than a quarter of Illinoisans who reported their height and weight were obese. CUPHD Administrator Julie Pryde says today’s young people have been developing risk factors for chronic disease for the past 25 years.
"It's a very sobering statistic to know that our children are going to have a less of a healthy and shorter life than we had," she said. "And it's our fault. We are the ones that are doing this, and we are the ones who need to take responsibility for it and turn it around."
Pryde says another plan is get the Coordinated Approach to Child Health, or CATCH program, into all Champaign County Schools. She says a constant problem is the ‘subsidized junk’, including sugar-sweetened beverages, that kids eat in school lunches.
Another long-term goal is making the University of Illinois campus smoke-free. At the unveiling of the grant Tuesday at Carle Foundation Hospital, Pryde said that would serve as an example for other campuses.
"We have made significant strides in that, but we need to go further," she said. "I'm thrilled that we're having it (the grant announcement) here on Carle's campus - it's a complete smoke-free campus. We need every place to adopt that policy. We need to make it very difficult for people to smoke. It's just a fact."
$3.5 is going to 60 counties in Illinois, filtered through the state by the Centers for Disease Control. CUPHD will receive nearly $212-thousand in the first of a four-year grant. A large check for $800,000 was presented to the agency Tuesday by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The programs will work in conjunction with C-U Fit Families, a coalition of campus and community groups working for healthy eating and active living in the home. The initiative was started by Illinois Public Media in 2008.