CHAMPAIGN — Local health leaders are launching a Champaign County-wide initiative with the help of a state grant to reduce obesity and smoking and teach school kids how to live healthier lives.
The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is taking its a newly awarded $211,922 state We Choose Health grant to build on a coalition that's been working on healthy-family initiatives for about the last five years, said district Administrator Julie Pryde.
Specifically, the grant will be used to:
— Get the Champaign Coordinated Approach to Child Health program — known at CATCH — that aims to teach school kids better nutrition and get them moving in all Champaign County schools. CATCH is currently only in some schools, Pryde said.
— Work on developing more smoke-free public places, with the major target exploring how to make the University of Illinois a smoke-free campus and provide smoke-free housing options off-campus.
— Launch workplace wellness initiatives, initially focusing on government employees. First on the agenda will be the "Two Ton Challenge" to encourage city, park district, health district and county employees in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Mahomet, Savoy, Fisher, Tolono and Savoy lose a collective 4,000 pounds. Expansion plans include working with Carle, Provena Covenant Medical Center and Health Alliance Medical Plans to expand this program.
Provena United Samaritans Medical Center Foundation also received a $44,000 We Choose Health grant to help fight obesity and cut the smoking rate in Vermilion County, identify and develop more walking trails and help improve health on a community level.
The grants were among a $3.5 million package of We Choose Health funding program through the Illinois Department of Public Health.
For more, see Wednesday's News-Gazette.