The program called CATCH, an
acronym for Coordinated Approach to Child Health, began in January
with six schools and eventually may be expanded to schools
"Obesity has become a critical
health program for our children and, if unchecked, is on pace to
become the leading cause of preventable death in this country,"
Blagojevich said. "As adults, we must teach our children how to lead
healthier lives. To that end, I am pleased that we can expand this
pilot program to additional schools so that other children will have
the opportunity to learn how to make better food choices and to
increase their activity level."
CATCH is a multicomponent
health intervention program, which builds an alliance of parents,
teachers, child nutrition personnel, school staff and community
partners to teach children and their families how to be healthy
throughout their lives. It is targeted at students in third through
The components of the CATCH
program include classroom curriculum, food service modifications,
physical education improvements and family reinforcement to reduce
cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes risk factors in youth.
"Children need to learn the
importance of regular exercise, as well as how to eat healthier,"
said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. "More
emphasis is needed on eating fruits and vegetables than on consuming
fats, sugars and carbohydrates, and becoming physically active. This
program can help teach children at an early age what they can do for
a lifetime of good health."
Each school selected to
participate in the CATCH program receives about $6,000 in federal
funds from the Illinois Department of Public Health to complete a
school health assessment, using the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention School Health Index; to implement the program
curriculum; and do an evaluation of the program during the 2004-2005
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in this article]
Teachers and staff from the
additional 14 schools were recently trained and will begin the
school assessment and program in the fall. Nutrition and health
promotion experts from the Department of Public Health will provide
technical assistance to the schools throughout the school year to
assure program compliance and implementation.
The following schools were
chosen to participate:
Schools were selected based on
several key factors: current cardiovascular health, obesity and
environmental program efforts within the community; previous program
implementation through the Illinois Health and Wellness Initiatives
grants; an expressed interest in the CATCH program; and geographical
distribution throughout the state.
six schools previously selected for the program were Tri-C
Elementary School, Carterville; Glendale School, East Peoria;
Washington Elementary School, Waukegan; Sihler School/Litchfield
pre-K, Litchfield; Melody Elementary School, Chicago; and Paul Bolin
School, East Peoria.
[News release from the governor's