IPHI to Improve Physical Activity and Nutrition in Illinois Through Five-Year, $4.6 Million CDC Award

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018 – The Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a five-year, $4.6 million grant to implement physical activity and nutrition interventions designed to get at root causes of obesity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is awarding the funds to IPHI to support the Illinois State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program (ISPAN). IPHI will collaborate with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), local health departments three regions of the state, and organizations promoting healthy nutrition and physical activity in early childhood care and education, the built environment, food policy and food systems, and nutrition for moms and babies.

“In order to make real, sustained progress on chronic disease outcomes in Illinois, we need to expand our view of health to encompass work, school, family, and community life,” said Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute. “ISPAN provides an incredible opportunity to align many different organizations around improving systems and physical environments in Illinois to make it easier for people to live the healthiest lives possible, especially in low-income, rural, and minority communities that have been hardest hit with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.”

ISPAN builds on IPHI’s 20-year role as a catalyst for public health systems change and our eight-year leadership of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity (IAPO), which will serve as the multi-sector umbrella coalition for this program. In Illinois, much like the rest of America, many communities lack environments that support healthy diets and regular physical activity, resulting in racial and economic health inequities. ISPAN will implement four strategies to create systems and resources that help people eat healthier and stay active:

  • Food service guidelines: Provide support to government agencies, hospitals, and social service agencies, to implement federal food service guidelines that increase the availability of healthy foods in community settings.
  • Support for breastfeeding: Increase the number of sites (pediatric/family practices, WIC sites, and other community settings) supporting new moms to breastfeed their babies for as long as possible.
  • Changes to the built environment: Establish new or improved pedestrian, bicycle, and transportation systems that connect homes, work places, schools, early childhood centers, and other community settings.
  • Improved health standards in early childhood settings: Implement and integrate physical activity and nutrition standards into Illinois’ early childhood education systems.

These strategies will be implemented at the state-level and in three regions with high rates of chronic disease: Chicago and suburban Cook County, Peoria/Tazewell/Woodford Tri-County Region, and Jackson County.

ISPAN will engage a unified coalition of partners from multiple sectors, including the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, the Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors, the Chicago Food Policy Action Council, the Illinois Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, the Active Transportation Alliance, the University of Illinois at Chicago, among others.

ISPAN will launch on September 30, 2018 and run through September 29, 2023.

The grant award is overseen by the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity in the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. In addition to IPHI, 14 state departments of health and one university were awarded funding under the State Physical Activity and Nutrition program. Find out more about the other award recipients here.

Media Contact:
Elissa Bassler
CEO, Illinois Public Health Institute
Office Phone: (312) 850-4744
Cell Phone: (773) 316-4929