Kohl’s is continuing its 17-year partnership with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago by granting $1.1 million over two years to develop a comprehensive multi-level health and wellness initiative focused on three Chicago communities -- Englewood, Rogers Park and Pilsen. The initiative is being implemented by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), a public health outreach program created by Lurie Children’s.
In Chicago, one in five kindergarteners enrolled in the public school system was obese in the 2012-2013 academic year, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. A recent study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, predicted that 57.3 percent of children in the U.S. will be obese by age 35, with half occurring during childhood.
“These alarming findings illustrate the need to redouble national and local efforts to combat obesity,” said Adam Becker, PhD, MPH, and Executive Director of CLOCC. “Corporate partnerships are an important part of sustaining local programs in this ongoing battle for children’s health, a battle that must include diverse strategies to support healthy behaviors for children and their families. We are grateful to Kohl’s for their continued investment in our vision for a healthier future.”
CLOCC will be working directly with Chicago Park District summer camps to promote the healthy lifestyle message, 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® The message recommends daily goals for food and physical activity behaviors: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 4 servings of water, 3 servings of low fat dairy, 2 or less hours of recreational screen time and 1 or more hours of physical activity. Developed by CLOCC in 2004 and launched as a mass-media campaign in 2009, 5-4-3-2-1 Go! has reached millions in communities throughout the area. The Chicago Park District will have summer camps running June through August at selected parks that will integrate 5-4-3-2-1 Go! into their daily activities.
Dominican University has been delivering the 5-4-3-2-1 Go! Junior message to children in 800 Head Start classrooms through its College of Health Sciences in collaboration with the City of Chicago’s expansive Head Start program. The University has been using the curriculum developed by CLOCC specifically for that age group and setting.
"The 5-4-3-2-1 Go! Junior curriculum is a fun and engaging way to introduce healthy eating and activity to young children,” said Christine Cliff, Registered Dietician, Head Start Nutrition Services at Dominican University. “Between the easy-to-follow lessons along with the storybooks, games and flash cards provided, the teachers can easily integrate them into their lessons which fit nicely with the Illinois Early Learning Standards and Teaching Standards.”
Kohl’s support also enables Lurie Children’s to lead collaborative efforts to support physical activity in these priority communities. Funds are directed toward distributing bicycle helmets to preschool and elementary aged children through community events and partnerships, ensuring and monitoring the safety of playground equipment in schools and parks, and addressing community level barriers that keep individuals and children from walking in their neighborhoods.
Since 2001, Kohl's Cares has committed nearly $13 million to Lurie Children’s through its philanthropic program, Kohl’s Cares®, which sells children’s books and toys. Kohl’s donates 100 percent of the net profit to charitable initiatives nationwide, including hospital partnerships like the one with Lurie Children’s. To date, Kohl's has raised more than $340 million through this merchandise program.