Cancer Society benefits Tazewell-Woodford Head Start
Because the data is clear that obesity, physical inactivity and poor nutrition are the biggest risk factors for cancer following tobacco use, the American Cancer Society is initiating a statewide effort to fight back.
This month, the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society has awarded 18 youth obesity prevention community grants to non-profit organizations across the state, including a $10,000 grant to the Tazewell County Health Department.
The American Cancer Society grant will be used to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity through the Centers for Disease Control-approved Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) curriculum.
Tazewell County CATCH will target after-school programming, pre-school programs and summer camps to teach children about the importance of proper nutrition, as well as encourage increasing their percentage of moderate to vigorous activity.
A trained health department educator will coordinate and implement the program with community partners, including: 21st Century Schools, Pekin Park District, YWCA of Pekin, Fondulac Park District and Tazewell-Woodford Head Start.
The after school program will be implemented one day per week for 7 schools in February and March, with an additional 7 schools in April and May.
Preschool students will be educated through the Head Start and YWCA programs.
Summer camps are held from May to August by 21st Century, YWCA, and the two park districts.
The CATCH program is expected to educate a total of 800 children throughout Tazewell County.
“Preventing cancer is infinitely better than treating it,” said Elise Pate, Senior Health Initiatives Representative at American Cancer Society, West Central Region. “Thanks to our local events such as Relay For Life and our generous donors, the American Cancer Society continues to find new ways to make a real difference for everyone in our community, including the children.”
The American Cancer Society’s goal is to relieve future generations of the tremendous burden on individual families and communities caused by a cancer diagnosis. According to the Society obesity has now joined tobacco use as one of the most important risk factors for cancer death, with definite links to various types of cancer, including colorectal, breast, esophageal, kidney, pancreatic, stomach and liver cancer. Individuals who are overweight and/or obese account for approximately 14 percent of all cancer deaths in men and 20 percent of all cancer deaths in women, and contribute to 90,000 cancer deaths each year in the United States.
Studies show that 70 to 80 percent of obese children and adolescents become obese as adults. Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled in the United States. Illinois ranks fourth highest in the United States for children aged 10 to 17 who are obese.
“So many serious, chronic diseases are related to obesity, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma,” said Erica Mutchler, Director of Health Promotions at Tazewell County Health Department. “The most effective response is to ensure that children never become overweight or obese; therefore, we must focus on early ages. We are so pleased to partner with the American Cancer Society to address childhood obesity as a means of preventing cancer and other major diseases for future generations.”
The Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society is providing more than $250,000 in anti-obesity community grants to 18 organizations, reaching 18,000 youth and families through early childhood and afterschool programs throughout the state in 2012.
As part of the American Cancer Society-funded programs, participating organizations will receive staff training, lesson plans and physical activity equipment such as balls, hula hoops and bean bags, to support implementation and expansion of the CATCH curriculum. The equipment will remain with the community organizations so that programs can continue to be implemented in subsequent years.