This year’s Public Health Month theme (“A Healthier America Begins Today”) focuses on preventing illness and enhancing overall health and wellbeing. “We can prevent up to 80% of premature mortality from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes and 40% of cancer by getting fit, eating healthy and stopping smoking,” said Public Health Administrator, Mike Bacon.
Put simply:
A healthier Rockford and Winnebago County begins with active living and healthy eating.
A healthier Rockford and Winnebago County is furthered by curbing tobacco and drug use and preventing alcohol abuse.

Each year, chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes are responsible for too many premature deaths.  In Winnebago County, the leading causes of chronic illness (i.e. heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and chronic lower respiratory disease) comprise more than 70% of the deaths in our community.

The following are steps you and your family can take to live longer and healthier lives:
Stay active and eat healthier - Engage you and your family in physical activity every day. Try to aim each day for a total of 60 minutes for children and 30 minutes for adults. Eat more fruits and vegetables, consume less sugar and fat, and eat meals together as a family. Help your family to eat less by avoiding oversized portions, make half of the plate fruits and vegetables. Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, and try to drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Live tobacco-and drug-free and prevent alcohol abuse – Quit using tobacco products and make your home smoke-free to protect you and your family from second hand smoke. Tobacco use contributes to approximately 443,000 deaths each year. Avoid binge drinking at anytime, and make sure youth are not able to access alcohol in your home. Excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States among all adult age groups totaling more than 79,000 deaths a year.

Prevent communicable diseases – Each year, one out of six Americans (48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Most foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, rather than toxic substances in the food. Practice good hand washing behaviors and cough or sneeze into a tissue or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow. This simple practice helps prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Stay up to date on recommended immunization schedules for children and adults. Also, sit down with your children and have an open conversation regarding their knowledge, values and attitudes related to sexual activity, sexuality, and healthy relationships.  

Maintain mental and emotional well-being – Know the warning signs of depression and suicide especially in the teen population. Risk factors for suicide include alcohol or substance abuse, isolation, extreme emotional stress, history of child abuse. Provide the opportunity and encourage your children and adolescents to participate in extracurricular activities. Many mental health and emotional disorders are preventable and treatable and with early detection can help people live longer, healthier lives.

In honor of Public Health Month, The Winnebago County Department of Public Health will be participating in a number of special activities during the month which focus on good health and well being.  Join us as we work together to make small changes to prevent chronic and communicable diseases and contribute to a healthier Winnebago County.

Events in April the Winnebago County Health Department is involved with:
County Health Rankings News Release on April 3, 2012
Lead Mitigation News Release on April 4, 2012

For more information on the programs, services, and classes that the Winnebago County Health Department provides, go to the website at; or call the Department at 815-720-4000.


  • Week of the Young Child – First Annual Early Childhood Family Fun Fair
    Heartland Community Church
    1280 South Alpine Road, Rockford, Illinois 61108 
    Saturday, April  21, 2012, 9 am -  3:00 pm
    More information @

  • Earth Day – Rock Valley College & Four Rivers Coalition
    Rock Valley College Physical Education Center (PEC)
    Rock Valley College Main Campus at 3301 North Mulford Road, Rockford, Illinois 61114
    WCHD Booth: Mercury Thermometer Exchange (limited quantity)
    Saturday, April 21, 2012 – 11:00 am  – 3:00 pm
    More information @