Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We’ve moved!

As you may have heard, we’ve recently redesigned our You’re the Cure website. The new site now contains our Illinois blog as well as state advocate stories, state-specific facts and events all in one place! Be sure to bookmark our new address and continue to follow our advocacy work. Our new address is:

Thank you for your conversation here, be sure to bring that with us as we move – we don’t know what we’d do without you!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quinn signs law to enhance physical education in Illinois schools

WLS-AM: August 25, 2012

CHICAGO (WLS) - A new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Saturday is intended to enhance physical education in Illinois schools. Additionally, the governor, who led a group of walkers on a half-mile trek through Oak Park, continued to urge Illinois residents to take the “Walk Across Illinois Challenge,” a program the governor launched to improve the health and fitness of Illinoisans.

“Today we want to encourage people to be fit, be healthy and walk across Illinois,” Quinn said. “This new law is another step in the right direction to help the citizens of Illinois improve their health and wellness.”

Senate Bill 3374, sponsored by Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Plainfield) and Rep. Jerry Mitchell (R-Rock Falls), creates the Enhance Physical Education Task Force to examine existing physical education strategies and programs, assess the impact of physical education, and identify and leverage local, state and federal resources for physical education, a release from Quinn’s office said. An initiative of the Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the bill was supported by major teachers’ and school organizations, American Heart Association, American Stroke Association and other health advocates. The law is effective immediately.

“This law helps us take a serious look at the positive impact PE has on students. It benefits them both physically and mentally. Studies show that physical activity increases the ability to concentrate and improves cognitive function. There is a connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind,” Holmes said.

“As a former coach and physical education teacher, I know first-hand the value of physical fitness,” Mitchell said. “This Task Force will help put Illinois schoolchildren on the right path.”

The new Task Force will collaborate with the Governor’s Council on Health and Physical Fitness, which was created in January to develop practical ideas to help Illinois residents embrace healthier lifestyles.

Originally launched by Quinn when he was Lieutenant Governor, “Walk Across Illinois” is an interactive program which encourages participants to walk 167 miles in a single year, roughly the distance across Illinois from Rock Island on the Mississippi River to Chicago on Lake Michigan.

Residents wishing to take the “Walk Across Illinois Challenge” may visit, where they can register, log their mileage, learn about hiking routes and get helpful tips. A chart enables you to convert other activities to mileage, such as 30 minutes of bowling or 20 minutes of lawn-mowing being equivalent to one mile.

Once a walker has reached 167 miles, they will receive a certificate from the governor. Illinois has approximately 270 hiking trails, 63 miles of walkable Lake Michigan shoreline, thousands of miles of riverfront paths and countless neighborhood walks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Study Finds Snack, Soda Regulations In Schools Help Kids' Health

Published: August 13, 2012 by Eliza Barclay

Lately, parents, teachers and policymakers have been experimenting with all kinds of different ways to keep unhealthy food out of schools. Some schools are limiting bake sales, as we reported earlier this year, while others are preparing lunches from scratch. Since a lot of these policies are new, it's often hard to tell which ones will be most effective at reversing childhood obesity rates.

But research published online today in the journal Pediatrics suggests that laws implemented a decade ago to restrict snack and drink sales outside of school lunch programs are working to keep kids from gaining extra pounds they don't need.

The study, lead by Daniel Taber, a health policy expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago, looked at kids in fifth through eighth grade from 40 states between 2003 and 2006. The researchers compared changes in body mass index and obesity status in 11 states with strict laws on food sold in schools with similar data from 29 states without such laws.

Overall, they found that the kids in states with detailed nutrition standards were less likely to remain overweight or obese than kids in states without the laws. And they said that kids were more likely to avoid unwanted weight gain if the laws at their elementary schools were reinforced at higher grade levels.

"We went in wanting to see if stronger laws have a big impact, and what emerged was how important it is for these laws to be consistent over time across grade levels," Taber tells Shots. "And the good news is that the trend [nationwide] is that these laws are become stronger over time."

The most effective laws have very specific guidelines for food sold in vending machines, a la carte in the cafeteria, or at campus stores, the researchers say.

The researchers caution that their analysis doesn't prove that the laws cause kids to lose weight. But they note that they controlled for many factors, like income and race, to tease out the impact of the laws on kids' health.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also a supporter of NPR, funded the study. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]  For the original article link, please click here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

IAPO Physical Activity WG Announcement: Upcoming Webinar - Enhanced PE

Please join the upcoming webinar: Exercise Your Mind: Collaborating to Enhance Physical Education in Illinois Schools! This webinar will take place on Friday, August 17 @ 1pm. A flyer for the webinar, including a description and learning objectives, is attached. We appreciate your help in sharing this opportunity with school officials, school boards, community coalitions, teachers, students, health departments and other local partners! You can also share this link with your partners:

In partnership with Healthy Schools Campaign and Illinois State Board of Education, 1.5 CPDU Recertification Credit (Continuing Professional Development Unit) will be awarded for attendance at this webinar. Attendance will be verified through webinar host, and attendance records will be maintained. Standard Evaluation and Evidence of Completion forms (ISBE 77-21) will be provided to participants who complete the activity.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CLOCC applauds the creation and implementation of the Illinois Fresh Food Fund

Yesterday, Governor Pat Quinn, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), and IFF (formerly Illinois Facilities Fund) announced the newly established Illinois Fresh Food Fund.  Created in 2011 with an initial investment of $10 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding, the purpose of the Illinois Fresh Food Fund is to support healthy food retail in the highest-need communities across the state.  Additional funding for the program comes from a $3.5 million grant that IFF secured through the U.S. Department of Treasury's Healthy Food Financing Initiative and also from banks and foundations.  The Illinois Fresh Food Fund is modeled primarily after the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative.  The initiative uses market analysis, leveraged capital, and public policy to stimulate grocery store development and increase the availability of fresh food in documented low access areas. 

CLOCC has supported the creation of the Illinois Fresh Food Fund over the last several years, prioritizing it as a Policy Agenda item.  CLOCC's Executive Director, Dr. Adam Becker, participated in the Illinois Food Marketing Task Force which began working in 2008 and submitted recommendations to the Governor's Office in 2009 to create a fresh food financing initiative.  In 2010, the General Assembly passed SJR 0072, calling upon DCEO to create the Illinois Fresh Food Fund. 

CLOCC and its federally-funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work project, Healthy Places, applaud the Illinois Fresh Food Fund as one mechanism to address food access issues in the State of Illinois.  We will promote the availability of these funds to encourage retailers to serve Chicago communities and strive to ensure that the Illinois Fresh Food Fund is coordinated with other current local efforts through Healthy Places aiming to maximize healthy food access in Chicago.  These other efforts include: the creation of the Chicago Food Plan, piloting a healthy corner store initiative, support for healthy vending in government buildings and other locations, and establishing parameters for a network of mobile produce carts in underserved communities across the city.  
We have already seen a number of successes in each of these efforts.  For more information on progress and ways to get involved, go to   

We encourage the CLOCC network and Healthy Places partners to spread the word about the Illinois Fresh Food Fund and encourage food entrepreneurs to consider applying, especially those that would be well-supported by local communities.  For more information on the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, please visit