IDPH Starts Healthy Lifestyle Initiative

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Published on January 10 2014 3:38 pm
Last Updated on January 10 2014 3:38 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

As part of the effort to improve the well-being of Illinois residents, the Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness today hosted a kickoff event at the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago to encourage Illinois citizens to participate in health and fitness activities that will help them live a healthier, happier and more productive life.  Interactive sessions such as Walk Across Illinois Counties Bingo, Cooking Matters demo, Are You Fitter Than A Fifth Grader and Muscle Up With The Mascots, demonstrated how residents can incorporate healthy habits into their lives.
 
“The best preventative medicine is a healthy lifestyle,” Governor Pat Quinn said.  “Innovative programs like the ones we’re kicking off today will help people from every corner of Illinois on the path toward healthy living.”
 
“Good nutrition and regular exercise can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and many other chronic diseases and serious health conditions,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.  “I encourage residents to take charge of their health and to actively participate in improving the health of their community.”
 
Many people spend a large part of their day at work, so IDPH is launching the Illinois Healthy Worksite Annual Recognition Program, a program to engage healthy practices that benefit both the employer and employees.  Workplaces can seek the “Healthy Worksite” designation at the gold, silver or bronze achievement level by completing up to five criteria.
 
BRONZE
1.Actively promote and support healthy nutrition at work.
2.Provide and encourage opportunities for physical activity at work.
 
SILVER
3.Develop a 12-month Health & Wellness Calendar and an ongoing communication plan to promote employee health and well-being throughout the year.
4.Demonstrate a commitment to employee health and well-being by making it part of the organization’s mission statement, goals and operations.
GOLD 
5.Develop lifestyle and disease management strategies and measure their success annually.
 
To help workplaces succeed in becoming healthier and achieving the “Healthy Worksite” designation, IDPH is also launching We Choose Health 365, a wellness portal providing customized company competitions, health tools and trackers, as well as education materials.  Participants will have 24/7 access to a food and calorie tracker; recipes with local coupons; a weight and activity tracker; exercise, walking and weight-loss company challenges; and more.  Register at www.wechoosehealth365.org and click “Join Today.” And find out about the Amazing Challenge, coming February 1. 
 
Helping businesses and residents work together to improve the health of their communities is one way IDPH is working toward developing essential partnerships and implementing IDPH’s Five Year Strategy. For a copy of the strategic plan, go to http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf.