Health and Fitness

Health and Fitness

Smoking down in Illinois, but not evenly

CHAMPAIGN — Smoking has declined in Illinois, but not all counties are seeing the same kinds of reductions in the number of people lighting up, new research has found.

There were marked differences throughout the state in the numbers of people who smoke, with the rates in counties ranging from nearly 15 percent on the low end in DuPage County to nearly 28 percent in Alexander County.

Vermilion, Champaign hold steady in health rankings

An annual survey of the health of the nation's counties holds little surprise for Jenny Trimmell.

The administrator of the Vermilion County Health Department, Trimmell said her county's ranking near the bottom of the state — changed little from the previous year — partly reflects social and economic factors "that are hard to break."

Jim Dey: Former wrestling coach up to the challenge at Y

An early riser, Mark Johnson sometimes gets to the local YMCA for his morning workout at 5 a.m., a time when he's the only guy in the building. Others soon join him for an early morning spinning class — riding a stationary bike to high-energy music that leaves him soaked in sweat.

After wrapping up his 90-minute routine, Johnson walks to work.

That bad day in Boston

Like me and many other runners around the country, Hal Higdon followed the 2013 Boston Marathon online — watching the elite racers and tracking the progress of friends who were running the race. And then sitting glued to the computer or the TV, watching coverage of the bombings at last year's race and desparately waiting to hear of the whereabouts of those friends there.

To Your Health: Making sense of food package facts and graphics

By Leia Kedem

The FDA recently announced plans to revamp the Nutrition Facts label.

This tool was introduced more than 20 years ago (!) and was designed to help consumers make food choices in the supermarket. Many people think this information has made it even more challenging to figure out food facts.

The Fit List

Good luck to everyone running the Mountain Goat hills this weekend. Here are other upcoming races:

Weekend of March 22-23:
Mountain Goat Hill Runs

'Breastmilk' documentary to be screened free at Orpheum

URBANA — "Breastmilk," a documentary about breast-feeding, is coming to Champaign.

It will be shown free at 2 p.m. March 23 at the Orpheum Children's Science Museum, accompanied by events for moms that will start at 1 p.m.

The Fit List

Your races for the weekend (and a couple more weekends after that):

Weekend of March 15-16:
Runnin of the Irish
This event includes 10K and 5K races on Saturday in Effingham. Your race entry also gets you a free beer after the race.
For more information, go to

Leia Kedem: Spice it up to enjoy the taste of eating right

By Leia Kedem

March is National Nutrition Month, and this year's theme is "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right," given that taste is the best indicator of whether we will eat a food. With warmer weather on the way, I'm asking you, too, to bring the heat and try my favorite way to make healthy foods more exciting — by spicing it up.

Police clerk near end of 16-month bid to lose 90 pounds

CHAMPAIGN — There was a time when Teri Weems would have said you're crazy if you tried to tell her she would enjoy going to cycling classes, training for a half-marathon and eating her veggies.

But that was more than 80 pounds ago.