Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D.,
joined the Illinois Interagency Nutrition Council to launch the new
campaign on March 21 at the sixth annual March Nutrition Month in
the rotunda of the state Capitol in Springfield.
"Eating fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods is a key
first step toward being healthy and staying fit," Blagojevich said.
"March Nutrition Month is a great opportunity to make families
across Illinois be aware of the health benefits of eating right, and
that means eating at least five or more servings of fruits and
vegetables every day."
While research indicates that more than 50 percent of adult
consumers know they need to eat five or more servings of fruits and
vegetables per day, more than 90 percent of all Americans do not eat
the recommended amount. Only 12.6 percent of Illinois adults
reported eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per
day. While research has also found that Americans are aware of the
health benefits of eating fruit and veggies, most consumers would
need to at least double the amount they currently consume in order
to meet the new dietary guidelines.
According to the Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
System, more than 36 percent of Illinoisans are overweight, and more
than 20 percent are at risk because of obesity. Over 13 percent of
Illinois children are overweight. At the same time 8 percent of
Illinois households do not have routine access to adequate amounts
"I encourage all Illinois families to support food and nutrition
programs and establish healthful eating habits," Adams said. "Having
enough to eat and access to a variety of foods, as well as daily
physical activity, are paramount if one is to be fit and maintain a
healthy weight. Eating fruits and vegetables and walking are great
first steps towards getting in shape."
Special Recognition awards were presented to the following
individuals and agencies for their leadership and support of
nutrition programs and physical activity for Illinois families: U.S.
Sen. Dick Durbin; Rep. Tom Cross, Illinois House Republican leader;
state Sen. William Delgado; state Sen. Mattie Hunter; state Sen. Don
Harmon; Dennis Smith, executive director of Northern Illinois Food
Bank; Janet E. Maruna, executive director for the Illinois Network
of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies; the Rock Island/Milan
School District 41 Head Start program; Macon County Mental Health
Board Teen REACH program, "Youth with a Positive Direction"; and the
Springfield Urban League Teen REACH program.
The Illinois Department of Human Services administers several
USDA Food and Nutrition Service programs, including food stamps; the
Emergency Food Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program
for Women, Infants and Children; the Commodity Supplemental
Nutrition Program; and the WIC and Senior Farmersí Market Nutrition
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