HEALTHIER TOGETHER’S Collective Impact approach to improve Community Health
In 2019, a Collective Impact movement to improve the health of communities in southwestern Illinois officially launched with leadership, workgroups, funding and a new branded website to be the hub of health information and activities. HEALTHIER TOGETHER is a community-based movement that seeks to transform St. Clair County and surrounding regions into the top 25% of the healthiest counties in Illinois by 2025. It does this by supporting the efforts of groups working together to improve the health and quality of life within six areas which include Chronic Disease Prevention, Community Safety, Education, Maternal & Child Health, Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. Over the last 16 months, HEALTHIER TOGETHER has worked alongside and assisted work groups to initiate or complete the activities listed below:
- Providing internet access funding and support to enable distance learning for up to 250 households for schools unable to provide this service through their CARES Act funding.
- Providing Safe Sleep Campaign supplies to over 600 newborns and their families; and securing additional newborn supplies through October 2021 for a potential of 10,200 children from low-income households.
- Creating Farmers Market food voucher partnerships with local businesses to provide fresh produce to 1,300 families.
- Supporting monthly Mobile Food Markets that helped distribute over 30,000 pounds of food and other household supplies and PPE’s to the community.
- Co-Host and sponsor to events that provided health curriculum, and 645 weekend meal boxes containing 15,480 meals to 365 students and their families.
- Co-Host and sponsor to four community engagement and training events related to Community Safety, Suicide Prevention and Substance Use Disorders for health professionals and community members.
- Funding for printing and advertising services to three community health campaigns related to Vaping, Suicide Prevention and Safe Sleep for newborns.
For more details about these and other activities and the Healthier Together movement, visit their website at www.healthiertogether.net.
Gateway Region YMCA
What does being fit mean? It may mean different things to different people, but I hope more comes to mind than flat abs.
- I encourage all those that are seeking to be fit, to focus on all aspects of their wellbeing. A good place to start might be asking yourself the question why. Why do I want to be fit or healthy? Once you answer that question, it will motivate you to stay the course when motivation is low. There will be days that you do not feel like making healthy choices, but if you keep your why at the forefront of your thoughts, it will keep you motivated. Some may consider it your personal mantra or phrase that you say every day.
Answering your why and respecting your body with a commitment to take care of yourself inside and out will help to build your confidence and carry over to all aspects of your life. Here are some practical healthy lifestyle components for supporting your “WHY” that aid weight loss, curb inflammation and help you feel your best.
Drink plenty of water, 1/2 ounce per lb. of bodyweight. Also, replenish lost fluids through sweating. 16 ounces for every lb. lost during exercise.
- Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Set a regular bedtime each evening.
- Manage stress. Take quiet time for prayer, meditation or Yoga.
- Move every day, but give yourself an active rest day (such as Yoga, swimming or a light walk) as well as one day off per week. This will assist your body in rebuilding and repairing your muscles. A consistent workout routine will help usher out sugar, produce feel good brain chemicals called endorphins and curb stress.
- Avoid sugary foods. Eat whole foods and avoid long shelf life junk foods which will break the cycle of energy crashes.
- Avoid foods whose packages list the following code names for sugar: Dextrose, Fructose, Fruit juice concentrate, glucose, High fructose corn syrup, sucrose.
- Favor foods that live and grow such as leafy greens, lean meat, fish and chicken. Lentils/beans, steel cut oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa. Eat low fat dairy unless you notice an intolerance.