Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity and the Healthy & Active Communities Network

October 2015 E-Newsletter: 
Implementing Enhanced P.E.
Dear Friends,

As we move into the fall, and with the school year well underway, we wanted to share with you some highlights of how communities across Illinois are implementing enhanced physical education. Your IAPO/HACN monthly newsletter will now feature a monthly theme, with this month's newsletter focusing on the recent changes to the learning standards for physical development and health (P.E.) and fitness testing. 

Additionally, IAPO workgroups are focusing on developing the 2016 legislative and advocacy agenda, which the Leadership Council will vote to approve at its December quarterly meeting. If there are policy issues of concern you'd like IAPO to address, be sure to join a workgroup meeting in the next couple of months to let us know. Contact Janna to learn more. 

We look forward to continued partnership as we work to reduce and prevent obesity in Illinois!


Elissa Bassler
Executive Director
Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity
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Coalitions Support Implementation of Enhanced P.E.

The October 21st Healthy & Active Communities Network (HACN) call focused on how Illinois communities are working to implement enhanced physical education (P.E.). Enhanced P.E. is defined as "programs that increase the length of, or activity levels in, school-based physical education classes." Call participants heard from Deb Vogel of the Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD), and former member of state task forces on enhanced P.E. Deb provided an overview of the revised learning standards for physical development of health and new requirements for fitness testing in grades 3 through 12.

HACN members held an open discussion about how local coalitions are working to engage schools in enhanced P.E., what challenges they are facing in working with schools on P.E., and what tips or best practices they can shared to help others.

Paul Larson, Greater Peoria YMCA, shared work they've done to help schools implement enhanced P.E., including offering in-service and other training sessions, like the Let's Move Physical Activity Leader training, for all the teachers in the district and providing resources like the Get Fit & Flourish Manual and the CATCH curriculum. They continue to act as a resource and cheerleader for schools engaging in this effort and are working to help them procure much-needed equipment.

Jasmine Evers, Kankakee Area YMCA, Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC), had a representative attend an area P.E. summit on October 6th. As an incentive to attend the summit, P.H.C. drew the names of two teachers who attended and will pay for their cost to attend the IAHPERD convention, the state professional organization for physical educators.

Joanne Mitrenga, Tri-Town YMCA, reports that administrators are under pressure to grant waivers to athletes taking A.P. classes. They help support these educators in making the case for the importance of physical education - which is different from physical activity in that it is instructed by qualified teachers who assess student knowledge, motor and social skills to establish and sustain a healthy lifestyle. HACN members shared messaging points that have helped them advocate for the importance of P.E.
Upcoming Trainings for Implementing P.E. Learning Standards and Fitness Testing

In partnership with the Cook County Department of Public Health and it's Healthy HotSpot initiative, the Illinois Public Health Institute is offering trainings for P.E. teachers in suburban Cook County to learn more about the revised learning standards for physical development and health, how to include more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in P.E. class, and how to implement the new Illinois fitness testing requirements. The trainings are currently only open to teachers in suburban Cook County, but IPHI hopes to offer more trainings to other ares of the state soon. 

View the flyer with more information and training dates.

Keeping P.E. Out of the Governor's Turn-Around Agenda

In a recent memo from Governor Rauner to state legislators, the daily physical education requirement was put at risk. The memo added elimination of unfunded school mandates to the Governor's "turn-around" agenda and referenced a recommendation from the Large Unit District Association that daily P.E. be one of the mandates that's eliminated. The IAPO Childhood Nutrition and Physical Activity workgroup jumped to action and sent a letter to the Governor talking about the long-term costs to Illinois of eliminating the daily P.E. requirement and how putting the health of children at risk should not be part of his turn-around agenda. A similar letter was sent to the legislators, of whom some responded positively that they support P.E. and don't agree with the Governor. The workgroup will continue to monitor the dialogue and Springfield and will send action alerts when necessary. 

 Read the letter IAPO sent to Governor Rauner
Sample Social Media Posts About Enhanced P.E

In order to share similar messages about enhanced P.E. across all IAPO partners, please use these sample social media posts on Facebook or Twitter in the month ahead:
  • Physical activity and fitness help kids maximize academic performance & impacts developing brain.#EnhancePE #Active Schools
  • IL schools are now implementing revised learning standards for P.E. to get kids moving more & focus on lifelong fitness #EnhancePE
  • IL students will begin participating in yearly fitness testing in 2016 to track their progress & set individual improvement goals #EnhancePE
  • Daily physical education is important to not only getting kids active, but in helping them learn lifelong skills in fitness and health. #EnhancePE
Upcoming Events

Nov. 2-4, 2015: Pump Up P.E. Trainings for teachers in suburban Cook County. Learn more about the trainings here.

 Register for the trainings.

Nov. 4, 2015, 12:30pm-2pm: IAPO staff member, Janna Simon, will be presenting on building support for the HEAL Act (sugary drink tax) as part of a panel discussion on food policy at the American Public Health Association meeting in Chicago . If you're at APHA, join Janna in room W181a of McCormick Place Convention Center.

Nov. 6, 2015: Embracing a Culture of Health and Wellness, the 7th annual St. Clair County Health Policy Summit. The St. Clair County Get Up & Go coalition is hosting this policy summit in Fairview Heights, IL.

  Learn more and register

Nov. 12, 2015, 9am-5pm: 5th annual Local and Regional Food Summit. The Summit will take place at Heartland Community College, Astroth Community Education Center, 1500 West Raab Road, Normal, IL.

  Register by Nov. 6th

Jan. 11-13, 2016: Transforming Food Access Summit: Accelerating Affordability with Nutrition Incentives. Sponsored by Wholesome Wave and held in Atlanta, GA.

News, Research, and Funding Opportunities

A new research brief from Active Living Research summarizes research on elements of the rural built environment that may be related to obesity and physical activity.

  Download the research brief

A recent New York Times article shows that the sugary drink tax implemented in the country of Mexico is working to reduce consumption of those beverages. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the award of $99,965 in grants to the City of Aurora's Farmers Market to provide access to fresh, healthy meats, breads, dairy and produce to low-income families and individuals and to boost the regional economy, especially in local agriculture. 

Fuel Up to Play 60 awards grants are available to schools enrolled in their wellness program that may be used for a variety of activities and tools that jumpstart and sustain healthy nutrition and physical activity improvements. The deadline to apply is Nov. 4th. 

About IAPO

The Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity (IAPO) is a statewide coalition comprised of stakeholders working for a state-level response to the obesity epidemic. IAPO works to shape and advance solutions to reverse dangerous obesity trends.

IAPO supporters believe that Illinois must respond to the obesity epidemic by developing coordinated systems, policy improvements and investment on the scale of the problem. This initiative was launched and is coordinated by the Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI). To learn more about IAPO, visit

Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity
Convened by the Illinois Public Health Institute
954 W. Washington Blvd., Ste. 405 MB 10,
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 850-4744 voice
(312) 850-4040 fax
Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity | Illinois Public Health Institute | 312-850-4744