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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich proclaims March Nutrition Month, recognizes organizations dedicated to improving the health of Illinoisans
Department of Human Services and the Illinois Interagency Nutrition Council honor sixteen organizations statewide that promote nutrition and healthy living in their communities

SPRINGFIELD - Stressing the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, fighting obesity and improving food security for Illinois families, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has declared March Nutrition Month in Illinois. The Governor joins the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Illinois Interagency Nutrition Council (INC) to recognize community programs and partnerships that have demonstrated a commitment to their communities by implementing programs geared towards leading a nutritious and healthy lifestyle.
 
“March Nutrition Month is a great opportunity to make everyone aware of the health benefits of eating right and that means eating at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables everyday as well as increasing physical activity,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “Our children’s' health and well being are dependent on changing our environment - at home, school and in the community.  I commend these organizations for taking steps to promote these factors into their communities.”  
 
IDHS and INC awarded eight Community Partnership Awards and eight Honorable Mention Awards to recognize the hard work of organizations that are instrumental in promoting nutritious and healthy lifestyles in their communities from programs ranging from physical fitness and nutrition activities to breastfeeding promotion and support.
 
Lifestyle behaviors affect many of the prevalent health problems related to poor or inadequate diets and inactivity. That is why I applaud all of the awardees for their dedication and collaborative efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and the value of nutrition and physical activity,” said DHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. 
 
The Illinois Department of Human Services is responsible for administering several food and nutritional programs, including the Food for Families initiative.  In his FY09 budget address, the Governor proposed an additional $5 millions in funding to purchase healthy food that could feed over 175,000 families in Illinois. The additional funding will also include $300,000 in grants to food pantries to help them purchase equipment to stock fresh fruits and vegetables.
 
The Interagency Nutrition Council (INC) includes representatives from DHS and other agencies who work with the USDA Food and Nutrition Programs and non-profit organizations involved in food security and nutrition issues.  INC’s mission is to promote health and wellness through nutrition education, coordination of services and access to nutrition programs so that Illinois residents can achieve food security.  The participating programs share successes, collaborations and plans for working together to coordinate promotion, outreach and nutrition education projects across the state and across programs. 
 
The eight Community Partnerships Awardees are as follows:
 
Donna Hawkins
Coordinated Youth and Human Service,
Southern Illinois Healthy Children Task Force (SIHCTF), Granite City, IL
 
 
Paul Swiech, Health Editor
Chuck Blystone, Features Editor
Mary Ann Ford, Reporter
Pantagraph Newspapers, Bloomington
 
Sarah Sullens and Peggy Litt
Blessing Hospital, Quincy, IL
 
 
Ellen Jackson
Family Nutrition Program
DuPage County Extension
 
Organic School Project
Chicago, IL
 
Joliet Park District
Aida L. Giachello, Ph.D.
Midwest Latino Health Research
Training and Policy Center
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
 
Jolie Finkbiner
ACE (“After School Community Enrichment”)
Summer Success/Summer Food Program
Crawford County Illinois
 
 
The eight Honorable Mention Awards are as follows:
 
Terri Lawrence and Jackie Mollin
Head Start Program administered by Tri County Opportunities Council, Rock Falls, IL
Jennifer Nance
Cooking Class for Franklin/Williamson Early Head Start Program
 
Deborah Szpila, Dir of Maternal Child Health Services
Linda Anderegg & Marie Zahorek, Lactation Consultants
SilverCross Hospital, Joliet, IL
 
 
Karen Cole, West Side Pre-K Parent Coordinator
West Side Elementary School
Harrisburg, IL
 
Christine Wetzel, Carle Foundation Hospital
 
Sandy Patrick,
Belleville Memorial Hospital
 
 
Vermilion County Family Nutrition Program
 
 
Joliet Public School District#86
 
 
For more information about the state nutrition programs, please contact Penny Roth, the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Bureau of Family Nutrition at (217) 782-2166, or their website at http://www.dhs.state.il.us/chp/ofh/FN/ or check out the Interagency Nutrition Council website at http://inc.aces.uiuc.edu.
 
 
Text of proclamation follows:
 
WHEREAS, the problems of obesity and food insecurity are growing issues in Illinois and across the country; and
 
WHEREAS, it is crucial that we as a state do our part to promote good health and nutrition by encouraging all citizens to practice sound eating habits; and
 
WHEREAS, according to the Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, nearly 62 percent of all Illinois citizens are overweight or obese.  Also, the prevalence of obesity among Illinois children ages 2 to 5 has risen from 9.3 percent in 1976 to 14.4 percent in 2006; and 
 
WHEREAS, at the same time, approximately 9.8 percent of Illinois households are food insecure and do not always have enough money to buy food.  It is estimated that 76 percent of individuals in Illinois do not eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, and that over 25 percent are not physically active; and
 
WHEREAS, it is important that people eat neither too much nor too little of any food or nutrient in order to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Overindulgence in food can result in excess weight and related health complications, while eating too little can lead to numerous nutrient deficiencies and low body mass; and
 
WHEREAS, during the month of March, the Illinois Departments of Human Services and Public Health, along with the Illinois Interagency Nutrition Council, are joining forces with nutrition professionals in Illinois and throughout the nation to promote awareness of the importance of good nutrition and physical activity in maintaining good health:
 
THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim March 2008 as NUTRITION MONTH in Illinois, and encourage all citizens to support food programs and establish healthy eating habits in hopes of reducing the risk of obesity and preventing hunger.
 
 


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