City of West Chicago, Healthy West Chicago, Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce and the American Heart Association Align with Healthy Workplace/Community Food and Beverage Guidelines
Striving to lead the community by example, the City of West Chicago, Healthy West Chicago (HWC) and the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce (WDCC) have joined with the American Heart Association (AHA) to improve the overall food and beverage environment within the three organizations, with the hope that others in the community will follow.
At a public event at Prairie Landing Golf Course, Mayor Ruben Pineda, WDCC President and CEO David Sabathne, and HWC Director Andi Cooper, signed section 4 of AHA’s “Healthy Workplace/Community Food and Beverage Commitment” to help improve healthy food options and promote a culture of health through the following strategies:
- If snacks are offered in common areas and in meetings, offer fruit and vegetables.
- If offering packaged snacks, check the Nutrition Facts and choose items consistent with the guidance and nutrition standards in the toolkit which the AHA has provided.
- Discourage high-calorie high-sugar foods such as donuts, cakes, cookies, pies, and candy. If these foods are offered:
- Serve small portions.
- Limit the amount of time they are available.
- Limit how frequently they are offered.
- Always offer a healthy alternative such as fruit.
- Provide signage in common areas and at the point-of-purchase (if applicable) promoting healthier choices.In addition, the Chamber and Healthy West Chicago both pledged to section 5 of the Commitment to continue implementation of an “innovative and high impact initiative” related to the food environment. The Chamber offers a weekly farmer’s market, and Healthy West Chicago/People Made Visible operate an on-site community produce garden.
“We value having the American Heart Association as a health partner in our community and look forward to working together on shared goals relating to improving the health of those living and working in West Chicago,” said Mayor Pineda.
Using the science-based best practices of the AHA, the community groups hope to empower people, organizations and communities to build sustainable dietary habits and behaviors that will impact generations of consumers to come.
“Healthy West Chicago will work with our community partners to sign on to this commitment in the months ahead. By addressing the environments where people live, work, learn, and play, we aim to see this ‘culture of health’ achieved for all our residents,” said Cooper.
Through the adoption of the Healthy Workplace/Community Food and Beverage Commitment (sections 4 & 5), West Chicago will be contributing to the AHA’s ambitious 2020 Strategic Impact Goal: To improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by the year 2020. Since its release in July 2014, more than 3,000 units of government, corporations and institutions have used the toolkit, with West Chicago among the leaders in Illinois focusing on making the healthy choice the easy choice in the food and beverage category.
Each of the three partnering organizations understand that changes in patterns of behavior take time and cooperation, and acknowledge their aim is not to take away personal liberties, but to create a healthier environment that will benefit everyone. They value the support and feedback of the community, and encourage those with comments, questions or seeking more information, to contact HWC Director, Andi Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Working locally to improve the health of our broader community makes us all better equipped for a bright and prosperous future,” Sabathne concluded.
Photo at right above: Pictured from left to right, Healthy West Chicago Director Andi Cooper, West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda and Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce President and CEO David Sabathne, sign a commitment with the American Heart Association that will further a ‘culture of health’ in West Chicago.