Dr Mona Blog: Healthy Chicago Event on Feb 14, 2013 - Fox 2 News Headlines

Dr Mona Blog: Healthy Chicago Event on Feb 14, 2013

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Valentine's Day was celebrated a little differently by the Chicago Dept of Public Health this year. In recognition of a visit by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the first Annual Report was released on the city's 18-month initiative titled Healthy Chicago. The report and related achievements were introduced by Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair followed by comments by Secretary Sebelius about the Affordable Care Act. In his verbal and written report on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 18-month initiative, Dr. Choucair highlighted city partnerships that would make Chicagoans healthier in 12 priority areas: tobacco use, obesity prevention, HIV prevention, adolescent health, cancer disparities, heart disease & stroke, access to care, healthy mothers & babies, communicable disease control and prevention, healthy homes, violence prevention and public health infrastructure. The Healthy Chicago agenda, released in 2011, shows point prevalence of certain conditions and sets targets for improvement by the start of the next decade. For example, it is estimated that 19.4% of adults smoked in 2009, and the 2020 target is 12%. The breast cancer death rate gap between black and white women was about 12 in 2007, with a 2020 goal of reducing that gap by 50%. The 2007 hospitalization rate for asthma exacerbation per 10,000 residents was 22.6 with a 2020 goal of 15. Markers for improving obesity rates are quite ambitious: to reduce adult and childhood obesity by 10%, decrease the proportion of youth and adults consuming less than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day by 10% and reduce the number of Chicagoans living in food deserts to 200,000 by 2015 and to zero by 2020.

The first annual Healthy Chicago Report contains some of the incremental steps implemented over the past year to achieve the above goals. For example, four new Chicago Housing Authority complexes (1,600 units) and nearly 3,250 units of multi-unit private housing became smoke-free. Among other programs, through five City-operated sites, 3,610 mammogram's were provided to high risk women. Regarding asthma, patients and their families coming into UIC's emergency department are planned to be connected to a nurse or public health aide who will assess their home environment and recommend changes that will decrease the likelihood of asthma attacks. This program will be piloted in high incidence zip codes and may be expanded to other geographic areas.

And in a move to target obesity (the cause of so many damaging health conditions) via healthier eating, five new Farmers' Markets in the under served areas of Austin and Humboldt Park have been launched. Each of the new markets included healthy cooking demonstrations and on-site nutritionists. These markets also accept LINK cards allowing access to healthier foods for food stamp recipients. These markets will be continued and an additional night-time Farmers' Market will be established in Logan Square beginning in June 2013.

Prior to the Healthy Chicago event, the Secretary and Governor Pat Quinn had announced that Illinois has been conditionally approved to operate a State Partnership Marketplace. This federal approval of the partnership now allows Illinois to select health insurance carriers and tailor the marketplace to local needs and market conditions as a result of the health insurance coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Individuals and families with income between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the web-based marketplace. Illinois officials estimate that 500,000 people will secure coverage through the marketplace in the first year of operation, and up to one million people will be covered by 2016.

Open Enrollment begins in October 2013. For more information, go to http://www.healthcare.gov.

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