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January 31, 2008

Blagojevich administration awards more than $50,000 in grants to help improve women’s health
Governor also encourages women’s heart health awareness through participation in National Wear Red Day

MACOMB – On behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, Dr. Damon T. Arnold today announced $54,000 in grants to 15 local health departments and health organizations to help improve women’s health.  The grants, ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 each, will be used to further one of two Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) programs:  Women’s Health Awareness Events and Women Out Walking (WOW).  The Blagojevich administration awarded the grants on the eve of National Wear Red Day, a day designed to raise awareness of women’s heart disease – the number one killer of women. 
“By raising awareness about heart disease and teaching women how they can lower their risk of having a heart attack, through these grants we are working to save women’s lives” said Gov. Blagojevich.   “Too many mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters are lost every year to heart disease.  That’s why I'm also encouraging everyone in Illinois to wear red on Friday.”
One in every four women dies of heart disease – making it the leading cause of death among women.  The latest statistics show that more than 14,300 women in Illinois died from heart disease in 2005.  National Wear Red Day is a day when women and men across the country wear red to show their support for this life-saving women’s heart disease awareness campaign.  To help increase awareness in Illinois of women’s heart disease, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich proclaimed February “Women’s Healthy Heart Month.”
“I want to encourage women and girls across Illinois to take control and improve their health throughout their lives by giving them the tools to help them change behaviors that can lead to healthier lifestyles,” said Dr. Arnold.  “The Women’s Health Awareness Events and Women Out Walking programs educate women about heart disease and I want to encourage all the women in these programs, and men and women all across Illinois, to wear red on Friday to support awareness of women’s heart health.”
Women’s Health Awareness Events involve statewide seminars addressing women’s health issues such as heart disease, obesity/overweight, nutrition, physical activity, stress management, depression, osteoporosis, menopause, sexual health, diabetes, breast and cervical cancer and others.  The seminars provide educational sessions and resources with an emphasis on goal setting and motivation related to women’s health issues.
Grants to the Women Out Walking (WOW) Campaign will support a community walking campaign, including walking events and education for women and their families.  Grant recipients must design, publicize and sponsor a community walking campaign aimed at women.
“We want to thank the Governor and the Illinois Department of Public Health for the “Women Out Walking” grant.  We would like to invite all the women of McDonough County to join us in the 12-week walking program,” said McDonough County Health Department Community Health Director Amy McCallister.  “Our hope is that the program will help women start walking programs or help them continue their walking programs or physical activity at this time.  We hope that once the women start walking, their families and friends will join them for better health.  The health benefits a woman can gain from joining the program could lower risk factors associated with a number of chronic diseases.”
The following organizations are receiving grants.
Name of Organization
Aurora Primary Care Consortium
Health Awareness
Boone County Health Department
CGH Health Foundation
Calhoun County Health Department
Illini Community Hospital
Health Awareness
Illinois Maternal Child Health Coalition
Health Awareness
Kendall County Health Department
Health Awareness
McDonough County Health Department
Providence Missionary Baptist Church
Recovery 2000
Health Awareness
U of I Extension – Cook County
Health Awareness
U of I Extension – Macoupin County
Vermilion County Health Department
Whiteside County Community Health Clinic
Rock Falls
Health Awareness
YWCA of Pekin
Health Awareness
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Office of Women’s Health administers numerous grants awarded to organizations to implement programs that provide guidance on issues related to women’s nutrition, exercise, risk assessment, treatment options and prevention strategies.  This fiscal year IDPH awarded $1.5 million in Women’s Health Initiative Grants, which include the following eight programs:
  • Heart Smart for Women, a 12-week community-based program designed to change unhealthy behavior while promoting the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
  • Heart Smart for Teens, a nine-week nutrition and exercise curriculum geared to school-aged girls.
  • Building Better Bones, a program for women that offers group education sessions as well as bone density screenings for osteoporosis.
  • Osteoporosis Prevention for Teens, a program targeting high school freshman and sophomore students that includes a presentation on osteoporosis and several activities which include a nutrition demonstration and exercises to promote bone building.
  • Jump Girl Jump, a four-session structured jump rope and nutrition program for grade school girls designed to create awareness of bone health, physical activity, and the importance of calcium intake.
  • Understanding Menopause, a program that offers educational sessions that help women understand peri-menopause and menopause and inform them about related health issues.
  • LifeSmart for Women, is a 10-week comprehensive education curriculum covering a variety of women’s health topics including cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, nutrition, fitness, stress, substance abuse, violence against women, sexual health, aging and family health and is appropriate to a widely diverse audience of women.
  • BodyWorks, a Toolkit for Healthy Girls and Strong Women is an obesity prevention program to help parents and caregivers of adolescent girls improve family eating and exercise habits.
Information on women’s health issues and programs can be found on the IDPH website, www.idph.state.il.us or by calling the Women’s Health-Line at 888-522-1282 or for TTY (hearing impaired use only), 800-547-0466.


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