Prevention, intervention and education lead to health and wellness
The Heart of Illinois United Way is focused on ensuring the people of central Illinois have access to quality, affordable health care. The health and well-being of our citizens is a strong indicator of the health of our community.
- United Way funds distributed to the Health Impact Area support programs focused on health education/prevention and health treatment/services, including:
- Community Clinics
- Physical Fitness
- Home Health Care
- Dental and Vision Care
- United Way funded health programs provide . . .
- Nutrition, physical fitness and substance abuse education that improve healthy choices
- Medical, vision and oral health screenings and treatment that improve overall health
- Mental health screenings and intervention that improve individual and family stability
- Here are just a few ways Heart of Illinois United Way funded programs are positively impacting health in central Illinois:
- 99% of individuals in an emotional or personal crisis received community interventions for health and safety
- 82% of youth increased their knowledge of healthy choices related to nutrition, risky behaviors, violence and safety
- 94% of adults in nutrition and health education programs increased their knowledge about eating properly and exercising
- 83% of adults in health treatment programs improved overall physical health
- 100% of individuals who received STI education increased their knowledge and had testing
- 85% of individuals who received counseling and mental health services improved
Keep Healthy Habits on Track
The number of children and teens who are overweight or obese has tripled since the 1970s due to lack of exercise and poor nutrition. These youth are more likely to miss school, have increased social-emotional needs and develop behavioral problems.
The Greater Peoria Family YMCA provides a fun and educational after school program that encourages children and youth to participate in a variety of physical activities and nutrition education that leads to healthier eating habits at home. One of the participants, Lucy, says the program has provided her with an opportunity to be physically active and knowledge of what food to eat. Her parents say she enjoys all the games they play and running around and having fun. In her first few months of the YMCA’s program, Lucy improved her knowledge of healthy choices from 76 to 90 percent and improved her physical fitness.
SMART CHOICES MAKE A PICTURE OF GOOD HEALTH
Health education teaches critical life skills that improve nutrition, increase exercise, and emphasize smart choices. The Heart of Illinois United Way invests more than $300,000 annually in programs that provide nutrition and fitness programs for children and adults. These in-school and community-based programs are easily accessible and improve our community's overall health and well-being.
At the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria, their Healthy Habits program addresses hunger and healthy food choices with a two-fold approach. With many low-income children receiving meal assistance at school during the week or nutritious snacks afterschool, they are often left hungry over weekends. The Boys and Girls Clubs program ensures children and families are nourished each weekend by sending home nutritious, easy-to-fix meals while also providing opportunities for parents and children to learn how to select and prepare healthy food on a budget.
Caring for Each Other is a Group Effort
The Heart of Illinois United Way funds individual, family and group counseling for at-risk individuals including programs at the Center for Youth and Family Solutions (above). Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being affects how we handle stress, relate to others and make health and life-style choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Balanced Nutrition is a Recipe for Better Health
The Heart of Illinois United Way funds several programs that teach children and adults about better nutrition and how to make healthier choices. Suzy, an instructor at the Hult Center for Healthy Living, knows first-hand how important nutrition classes are for the community, area students and patients recovering from diseases such as cancer. Learning about nutrition can help prevent disease, improve overall health and enhance quality of life for all ages.
United Way Health Programs at Work
To see United Way funded health programs at work visit our YouTube channel.