The McHenry County Board recently approved the McHenry County Department of Health’s (MCDH) acceptance of almost $300,000 in grant money. The We Choose Health grant funds a statewide initiative to implement proactive health programs in three important ways, including healthy eating and active living, smoke-free living and a safe environment. The program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transformation Grant (CTG) to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce health disparities.
“I want to congratulate McHenry County Department of Health on receiving one of 21 We Choose Health grants and encourage everyone in the community to get involved in the exciting new programs coming your way,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.
Centegra Health System dietitian Julie Patterson is part of McHenry County’s Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) obesity work group that collaborated to apply for the multi-year grant. She worked with professionals from MCDH, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and Sherman Health to develop a strategy for combatting obesity in McHenry County.
“We are very excited to have received board approval and I am so grateful for our group’s collaboration,” Patterson said. “It’s a testament to the value of having major organizations work together to improve the health of our community.”
Partnering with community-based organizations, funding will be used to support the existing Coordinated School Health program that focuses on improving overall health of the school community, establish safe walking and biking routes to school, further policies for smoke-free outdoor spaces such as parks, create joint use agreements between schools, communities and groups to increase the number of facilities and areas for physical activity, and make roads more accessible for pedestrian traffic.
“In McHenry County, about six out of every 10 people are overweight or obese, according to the 2007 Behavioral Risk Surveillance Survey,” Patterson said. “This grant will help us modify local infrastructure as well as support programs that will help people get active and improve their health. It also will help us create a local infrastructure to help people get active and improve their health.”
Created by the Affordable Care Act, the CTG program supports states and communities that tackle root causes of poor health so Americans can lead healthier, more productive lives. For more information about We Choose Health, call MCDH at 815-334-4510.