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

December 2015 E-Newsletter: 
Year-End Recap and Looking Ahead
Dear Friends,

As we approach the year end, we would like to thank all of our partners for the tireless work you do to improve health in communities across Illinois. Without the work you each do to spur a culture of health locally and regionally, we wouldn't be as successful at statewide advocacy to prevent and reduce obesity in Illinois. Partnerships are at the heart of what we do, and we extend our sincerest thanks to you this holiday season.

Below you'll find a recap of the IAPO workgroup activities for 2015, links to the webinars IAPO hosted this past year, and a look to what's to come in 2016, including plans for all-IAPO coalition meetings in March and September. 

We hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season!


Elissa Bassler
Executive Director
Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity
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IAPO Workgroup Progress in 2015
Childhood Nutrition and Physical Activity in Educational Settings

This workgroup's 2015 focus was to support implementation of the new P.E. learning standards and policies in schools across the state, to work to ensure the state maintains its daily P.E. requirement in schools, and to promote the implementation of the new competitive foods standards in schools.

The workgroup had a busy year fending off attacks against P.E. A rash of anti-P.E. bills were defeated in the General Assembly - in part due to the hundreds of witness slips filed by IAPO, IAHPERD, and American Heart Association P.E. activists to oppose P.E. waivers and other attempts to weaken the daily P.E. requirement. Read more. 
Clinical Access & Community Linkages
This workgroup continued to focus on ensuring community-based obesity and chronic disease prevention programs and providers are covered by Medicaid (especially through the Medicaid Managed Care Organizations).

Workgroup members met with the Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Plans to discuss how they could cover community-based prevention and weight management programs and, in spring 2015, convened a meeting of representatives from the health plans to discuss the community-based programs that are evidence based and some of the operational challenges of covering those services/programs in communities. Read more. 
Healthy & Active Communities Network
The Healthy & Active Communities Network (HACN) supports local-level coalitions working towards sustainable improvements in healthy eating and active living through policy, systems and environmental change. In 2013 HACN merged with IAPO and members serve as the on-the-ground implementers and innovators working to leverage deeper connections with communities and local policy makers to achieve change. In 2015, HACN highlighted coalition work and shared best practices for several initiatives, including work to implement the improved nutrition and physical activity standards for licensed child care centers, improving active transportation through complete streets policies, implementation strategies for the new statewide enhanced P.E. learning standards, and coalition fundraising strategies. To learn more about HACN, visit the webpage.  

Local Food Systems/Food Access
The Local Foods Systems/Food Access workgroup focuses on bringing together food security, nutrition, and local food stakeholders to learn how to align their work to create impact, identifying actions that can be taken to support local foods in schools, and advocating for dollar-matching programs for SNAP and WIC participants at farmers markets. The group started strategic discussions on how to address food insecurity and the challenges of connecting local farmers with emergency food assistance programs across the state. The workgroup welcomed a new co-chair, Bob Dolgan, the Vice President of Statewide Partnerships at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, who also serves on the Illinois Commission to End Hunger. Read more. 
Nutrition in Communities and Institutional Settings
The Nutrition in Community and Institutional Settings workgroup focuses on reducing consumption of and access to sugary drinks, limiting marketing of unhealthy foods to kids and developing a statewide dollar-matching program at farmers markets for SNAP and WIC participants. In 2015, the Nutrition workgroup continued efforts to support the Rethink Your Drink educational campaign - presenting to community partner organizations and distributing promotional materials on the negative health impacts of sugary drink consumption. Read more.
Physical Activity in Communities and Institutional Settings
The workgroup focused on advocating for improvements in and seeking state funding for the Illinois Safe Routes to Schools program and supporting work to bring together health, transportation, land-use, and community development partners to find ways of working together to address issues of common concern.

The workgroup sent a letter to Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White urging his office to incorporate bicycling into all driver's education and driver's tests - a way to improve motorist understanding of how to better share the road with bicyclists. Read more. 
To get more involved with any of the workgroups, please contact Janna
View 2015 IAPO/HACN Webinars!

IAPO hosted several webinars in 2015, which were archived and can be viewed using the links below. Please feel free to share with your colleagues and networks that might be interested. 

"Healthy Vending Webinar: Illinois Successes and 'How-To' Guide to Healthier Vending in Park Districts, Hospitals, and Other Worksites" - This May 2015 webinar featured information about two Illinois healthy vending success stories (in Chicago and DuPage County) and provided "how-to" information on a variety of topics: getting started/engaging stakeholders, choosing nutrition standards, implementing educational supports for healthier vending, vending strategies, changing vending contracts and vending policies, and evaluating impact.

"Healthy Illinois 2021 Presentation to the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity" - This August 2015 webinar sought input from IAPO and HACN members for the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP), State Health Assessment (SHA), and State Innovation Model (SIM), collectively called the Health Illinois 2021 initiative. 

"Practical Playbook: Making the Connection Between Primary Care and Public Health" - This September 2015 webinar featured Dr. J. Lloyd Michener, and Dr. Don Bradley, of Duke University discussing the Practical Playbook, a tool to assist with the collaboration between primary care and public health groups to achieve population health improvement and reduced health care costs. 

"Promoting Physical Activity in the Workplace: Tools and Ideas for Small Businesses and Organizations" - This September 2015 webinar offered practical tools and ideas for promoting employee wellness and physical activity in the workplace.

New for 2016: Upcoming all-IAPO coalition meetings

The IAPO Leadership Council has developed plans for full IAPO coalition meetings in 2016. 

The first meeting will be an all-IAPO meeting via webinar on March 22nd, 2016,  to provide updates on the workgroup activities and the IAPO 2016 legislative and advocacy agenda. A second all-IAPO meeting will take place in person in September to provide opportunities for networking, sharing of best practices, and aligning advocacy efforts.

More details will be released in the New Year but we hope many of you will be able to join.
Sample Social Media Posts for December
In order to share similar messages across all IAPO partners, please use these sample social media posts on Facebook or Twitter in the month ahead:
  • Learn more about IL Alliance to Prev Obesity workgroup progress in 2015 by reading IAPO's recent newsletter.
  • You can still make festive holiday drinks with low or no sugar. Try this recipe: fresh cranberries, apples, and rosemary mixed with club soda (add white wine for an adult treat). Holiday #RethinkYourDrink
  • This holiday season, we thank all of our partners for helping to create a culture of health!
And don't forget to continue using last month's local foods posts:
  • #SNAP, #WIC, and #DVCP help the local economy. Combined SNAP, WIC and Double Value Coupon sales account for 10-25% of farmer and producer revenues at markets where the Double Value Coupon Program operates.
  • 50-58% of #SNAP & #DVCP benefits are spent on fresh fruits and veggies with another 40-45% spent on staples like meats, cheese, eggs and bread at IL #farmersmarkets
  • This video shows the benefits of the Double Value Coupon program at the 61st Street Market in Chicago (3rd video down on the left):
Upcoming Events

January 6, 2016, 3pm: Webinar- "Recess before lunch: Order is more important than you think!" This webinar is hosted by the University of Illinois Extension. To learn more and register for this webinar and other upcoming webinars, click here

January 6-8, 2016: Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference-- More information is available here

January 12, 2016: Webinar- "Staff Health & Wellness," hosted by the Healthy Schools Campaign. Learn more and register here

March 4, 2016: DuPage County Physical Education and Health Education Institute Day at Naperville North High School. More information is available here

April 23, 2016: Action for Healthy Kids is hosting its 8th annual School Wellness Conference in Champaign, IL. More information and registration is available here

Save the date: May 10, 2016 - Illinois Hunger Summit "Bringing Our Work Plan to Life" in Springfield, IL 
News, Research, and Funding Opportunities

President Obama signed S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces the long overdue No Child Left Behind law. The law designates physical education as a part of the well-rounded curriculum (replacing core subjects), which now makes physical education eligible for Title I funding - the largest pot of federal funding for schools.

The Federal Transportation Bill, Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), was recently signed into law. This five year reauthorization bill provides a slight increase in funding for programs that increase access to bikepaths, side walks, Safe Routes to Schools, and other transportation alternatives. 

The CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) has released the results of the 2014 School Health Profiles, a system of surveys designed to measure school health policies and practices. Read more and download the report here
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