Tuesday, May 15, 2012
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How to make your community healthier

We Choose Health -- funding opportunities to improve Illinois' health

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[May 15, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- To combat chronic diseases and the rising cost of health care, the Illinois Department of Public Health is now accepting applications from communities ready to take on obesity and tobacco prevention in Illinois. The state health department invites local governments, school districts, community organizations, health departments and coalitions to visit the new We Choose Health website, www.wechoosehealth.illinois.gov, to learn how to apply for grant funding.

"Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are leading causes of death, disability and rising health care costs," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, acting director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. "But this is not something the health department, community organizations or health care can solve on its own. Similar to the proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child,' it will take all of us working together to reduce chronic diseases and help people live longer, healthier lives."

We Choose Health is a multiyear initiative to encourage and support obesity and tobacco prevention in Illinois communities outside Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties (due to CDC restrictions). The state health department received a Community Transformation Grant of almost $4.8 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of which nearly 75 percent will be sub-granted to organizations working to improve health and wellness in their communities, with at least 35 percent specifically targeted to rural populations.

"I urge rural communities across the state to take advantage of these federal dollars," said Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, the only statewide elected official from predominantly rural southern Illinois. "A healthier state will help improve the quality of life in rural Illinois and lower health care costs."

As chair of the Governor's Rural Affairs Council, Simon has advocated for expanded access to local foods as a way to promote healthier eating and lifestyles.

Tobacco-free living, active living and healthy eating are all priorities for We Choose Health.

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Organizations can apply for a grant for a maximum $300,000 per year for four years. We Choose Health specifically supports efforts that:

  • Reduce exposure to secondhand smoke in public places and in multiunit housing.

  • Make healthy foods more available and unhealthy foods less available.

  • Create more safe and convenient places for walking, biking and other physical activities.

  • Increase opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity in schools.

  • Support children in walking and biking to and from school.

  • Promote breast-feeding.

  • Support social and emotional wellness in school.

For more information on submitting a grant application, visit www.wechoosehealth.illinois.gov.

[Text from Illinois Department of Public Health file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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