"Childhood obesity is one of the fastest growing diseases in America
and most common health problem facing children today," Blagojevich
said. "The consequences of poor eating habits and inactive
lifestyles are troubling -- ranging from diabetes to heart disease.
We're taking steps here in Illinois -- like banning junk food from
our elementary and middles schools -- to keep our kids healthy."
The University of Baltimore awarded the grades based on the policies
states had enacted in the categories of nutrition standards at
school, vending machine usage, body mass index measured in school,
recess and physical education, and obesity programs and education.
In addition to the Governor's ban on junk food in schools and BMI
testing, Illinois has participated in the CATCH Program (Coordinated
Approach to Child Health) which promotes healthy eating and physical
activity in elementary schools. Each of these programs contributed
to Illinois' A on the University of Baltimore's Report Card.
"This has been a great year in terms for our report card because
there has been a lot of progress made across the country," said
Chief Researcher Dr. Kenneth R. Stanton "This has given us an
opportunity to see that the states are serious, and we are able to
see if these programs are translating into progress. If we do
nothing, we have seen heart disease and diabetes as results of
obesity are so much more expensive in human power and in money down
In March 2006, the Illinois State Board of Education adopted the
Governor's proposal to ban junk food and soda in Illinois elementary
and middle schools. Research shows that healthier students have
higher attendance rates, better behavior, and superior test scores.
The rules prohibit junk food during the entire school day in
elementary and middle schools.
In January 2004, Governor Blagojevich unveiled Illinois'
participation in the nationwide CATCH program, a multi-component
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 for
a lifetime. It is targeted at students in third through fifth grade.
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.
The most recent data indicate that in the United States about 16
percent of children ages 6-19 years are overweight according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the 1970s, the
number of overweight children has doubled in the 2- to 5-year-old
age group and tripled among school-aged group (6-19 years).
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Overweight children may experience health consequences
immediately or may face weight-related health problems as adults.
Cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol and high blood
pressure, is one risk overweight children may face. Others include
asthmas, Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea.
Gov. Blagojevich has worked to improve the health of Illinois
residents by increasing access to health care for working families
and encouraging Illinois citizens to lead healthier lives.
In November 2005,
Gov. Blagojevich signed the All Kids program into law, making
affordable, comprehensive health insurance available to all
uninsured children in Illinois. Since taking office in January
2003, Gov. Blagojevich has expanded health care coverage to over
400,000 Illinoisans through programs like FamilyCare and All
Kids. The Kaiser Family Foundation has ranked Illinois first in
the nation for ensuring parents have access to health care and
second-best state in the nation for providing health care to
children who need it.
In 2004, Gov.
Blagojevich signed legislation calling for the development of a
comprehensive statewide plan that recommends strategies to
improve the public health system and the health status of
Illinois residents. The State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) was
created and circulated in January at hearings in southern,
central and northern Illinois. In line with the Governor's
commitment to encourage Illinoisan to lead healthier lifestyles,
Illinois' first SHIP focuses on obesity, physical activity,
alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse and violence as keys to improving
the health of state residents. The plan will be sent to the
Governor this fall and then forwarded to the General Assembly in
Through the Heart
Smart for Women and Heart Smart for Teens programs, the Illinois
Department of Public Health has worked to educate women and
girls about the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, promote
the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity, and
assist in developing a healthier lifestyle.
has also supported a Coordinated Approach to Child Health
(CATCH), a curriculum and physical education program. A
follow-up evaluation completed at the end of the 2005 school
year shows that moderate to vigorous physical activity in CATCH
classes increased by 15 percent and the time students were
active during class more than doubled. Approximately 6,000
elementary students are participating in the statewide program.
copied from file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information)