For Immediate Release
July 13, 2005
STATE AGENCIES JOIN GOV. BLAGOJEVICH INITIATIVE TO GET
Fit 4 Life kicks off
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. * State employees from 10 different
agencies are lacing up their tennis shoes and strapping
on their pedometers to participate in the Fit 4 Life State
Agency Walking Challenge, part of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich's
comprehensive fitness and wellness initiative. The six-week
program will challenge state employees to walk 10,000
steps per day. The program began Monday and will end the
last day of the Illinois State Fair, August 21.
"Exercising regularly not only improves your physical
health, but can also help relieve stress and anxiety and
increase your energy level," said Gov. Blagojevich.
"I challenge our state employees and all Illinoisans
to participate in some form of fitness to improve their
health and overall well-being. Fit 4 Life is one way we
can help our state employees take steps to stay fit."
A startling 66 percent of all Americans are overweight,
with more than 30 percent considered obese. Illinois statistics
are comparable to the national trend, with more than 60
percent of Illinois adults 18 and older being overweight
or obese. Obesity related medical expenditures for Illinois
are estimated at $3.4 billion, with $805 million financed
by Medicare and $1 billion financed by Medicaid.
Earlier this year, the Illinois Department of Public
Health (IDPH) piloted a similar walking program and nearly
one-third of the Department's employees participated,
walking a total of 210 million steps over a 12-week period.
Gov. Blagojevich asked Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public
health director, to offer other state agencies assistance
in implementing a similar walking challenge.
"Our program was a success and we want other state
agencies to reap the same health benefits," said
Dr. Whitaker. "Employees can experience increased
energy, less stress and better weight management, and
decrease the chance of developing many illnesses if they
add exercise into their daily lives. It's a win-win for
A typical adult averages 3,000 to 5,000 steps a day but
Fit 4 Life challenges 10,000 steps, which is the equivalent
of five miles per day. There are many ways to increase
your steps, for example, walking on lunch breaks, parking
farther away from the store or work, or taking stairs
instead of the elevator.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) and IDPH are working
together to implement various activities and events that
will eventually be a part of Fit 4 Life to raise awareness
of the importance of adopting healthy lifestyles.
"We have instituted a model within DHS to make positive
health behavioral changes and increase health and fitness
awareness by providing employees the opportunity to join
this fitness challenge," said Carol L. Adams, Ph.
D., secretary of the Department of Human Services.
The following state agencies will be participating in
Fit 4 Life:
Department of Agriculture
Capital Development Board
Department of Corrections
Department of Employment Security
Department of Human Services
Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Department of Public Health
Department of Revenue
State Board of Education
State Universities Civil Service System
Participants are able to register to participate in Fit
4 Life and track their progress electronically throughout
the six-week program. The competitive challenge will allow
employees to see how agencies rank in terms of average
number of steps taken per week. At the conclusion of the
program, data will indicate which agency has shown the
most improvement by comparing steps taken the first three
weeks with the final three weeks of the program.