"This is the right day to show
dads just how much we appreciate them and encourage them to take
care of themselves," Blagojevich said. "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
For the third consecutive year, the Illinois Department of Public
Health was a participating sponsor for the Health and Wellness
Pavilion at the Real Men Cook event Sunday in Chicago. The pavilion
included information on healthy cooking, fitness, family wellness,
bone marrow donation, prostate cancer, and free screenings,
including checks on 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 10 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, the Illinois Department of
Public Health had 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.
The Real Men Cook event ran from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the South
Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive in Chicago.
"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 Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, director of the Illinois
Department of Public Health.
The Illinois Department of Human Services 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.
[to top of second column]
"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 Department of Human Services 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
The program is in 20 Illinois hospitals.
In Chicago, the Teen Parent Family Services program uses an
innovative approach in serving young fathers whose wives or
girlfriends are part of the 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 delivered by the Teen Parent Family Services
program, 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. The program
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 16-24 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
It is a one-day conference targeting 100 African-American men
from throughout Illinois to address the disproportionate rate of
incidence in African-American men of 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, and an
education and awareness campaign.
[Text from news release received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]