CHICAGO – Wishing dads a happy Father’s Day, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich encouraged men to improve their health and well being by taking advantage of various state programs – including health screenings, the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative Boot Camp for New Dads and the Teen Parent Family Services program.
“This is the right day to show dads just how much we appreciate them and encourage them to take care of themselves. We have a number of state programs designed to help men learn about how they can lead healthy lifestyles and remind them about the importance of knowing their health background along with their risk factors so they can take action,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
For the third consecutive year, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is a participating sponsor for the Health and Wellness Pavilion at the Real Men Cook event today in Chicago. The pavilion will include information on healthy cooking, fitness, family wellness, bone marrow donation, prostate cancer, and free screenings to include glucose, blood pressure, and HIV.
Real Men Cook is an urban family celebration of real men who care for the family and community as well as a family food-tasting celebration. Produced annually in ten different cities, Real Men Cook started in Chicago with the first meeting in 1989 and the first event in 1990.
At the Health and Wellness Pavilion, IDPH will have information on medical conditions that affect men. Men, on average, live six years less than women. One in four men has high blood pressure, one in six will develop prostate cancer, one in five can expect to have a heart attack before the age of 65, one in 12 can expect to develop diabetes and one in 22 will suffer from depression at some time in his life, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“Family history or racial and ethnic background can increase your odds of having these diseases, but men can improve their chances of living a healthy life by practicing some common sense habits, like eating healthier foods, staying active, drinking in moderation, kicking the tobacco habit and getting annual checkups and screenings,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Eric E. Whitaker.
Men can get information and screenings at Real Men Cook, which is going on today from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the South Shore Cultural Center located at 7059 South Shore Drive in Chicago.
The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has two innovative programs that help fathers become more involved in their children’s lives. The Illinois Fatherhood Initiative Boot Camp for New Dads and the Teen Parent Family Services program stress responsible fatherhood and involvement in their children’s lives.
“The goal of the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative’s Boot Camp for New Dads is to reduce father absence by connecting children and fathers and promoting responsible fatherhood by equipping men to be fathers and father figures,” said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “The Boot Camp for New Dads, a hospital-based program for expectant and new dads teaches the basics of being a new dad including how to hold a baby, change a diaper, what to expect in the first months and much more. The new dads return as veterans, continuing the cycle and offering their best advice to the next class.”
The program is in 20 Illinois hospitals.
In Chicago, the Teen Parent Family Services (TPFS) program utilizes an innovative approach serving young fathers whose wives or girlfriends are part of the TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) program. Operating out of the Chicago Teen Parent Services Central Office, the program is meant to meet the immediate and long term critical needs of the various family members, including the fathers.
The services TPFS delivers, whether as referrals to community organizations or as direct services, are based on encouraging a two-parent family and developing the self-sufficiency of the family unit. TPFS offers culturally relevant educational outreach that focuses on: sexual health risk reduction strategies; heightened parenting skills and male involvement; economic stability through educational advancement and increased employability; cultural and artistic enrichment; and, general referrals related to these programs and other specialized individual needs.
Illinois received federal funding for five years to provide services to fathers age 16 to 24 to help them stay in school and become self-sufficient. Services include GED classes, job readiness, parenting skills, sex education, masculine identity and Job Corps. The program served more than 100 young fathers.
There is also an upcoming men’s health event in Springfield.
• African-American Male Retreat
June 28, 2007
It is a one-day conference targeting 100 African-American men from throughout Illinois to address the disproportionate rate of incidence for African-American men related to HIV, prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Conference outcomes will include, but are not limited to, the development and implementation of a joint HIV, prostate cancer, and cardiovascular disease outreach, education and awareness campaign.