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Thu February 23, 2012

DUPAGE COUNTY-The DuPage County Health Department is pleased to  announce that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) has provided funding to build a network of healthcare providers serving lower income children and families at risk for obesity.
The goal of the grant will be to accelerate best practices among providers and improve clinical and community linkages and referral sources for the prevention and treatment of obesity. The grant will be administered through the FORWARD (Fighting Obesity Reaching healthy Weight Among Residents of DuPage) Initiative.
FORWARD will receive $120,000 from Healthy Kids, Healthy Families funds through BCBSIL.
"We're proud to give our support to FORWARD as a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families partner," said Clarita G. Santos, Director of Community Health Initiatives for BCBSIL. "Through its work, we expect to see measureable improvement in children's health - creating a new generation of wellness."
"This grant shows that FORWARD is on the right track with its campaign to reduce obesity in DuPage County," said Linda Kurzawa, president of the DuPage County Board of Health. "We thank Blue Cross Blue Shield for supporting this initiative."
FORWARD will use the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families funds to:

  • Collect and analyze obesity data in DuPage County to determine communities most in need of obesity prevention strategies, resources and support.
  • Build the capacity of DuPage County healthcare providers and school professionals to effectively address overweight and obesity for children and families most at risk.
  • Develop and implement a network of clinical and community education and referral sources available to overweight and obese children and families.

Dr. David Dungan, DuPage Medical Group, and Dr. Vince Bufalino, chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Midwest Heart Specialists, have agreed to lend their time and expertise as co-chairs of this effort.
They will assist in developing the FORWARD Action Network (FAN) by galvanizing the provider community to share lessons learned and best practices, conduct obesity prevention education, improve referrals to community and clinical prevention programs, and collect data to ensure that communities with the greatest need receive resources.  An emphasis will be placed on healthcare professionals serving low-income communities.
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FORWARD is an inclusive public and private partnership directed and primarily funded by the DuPage County Health Department. The mission of FORWARD is to help all children and families achieve and maintain a healthier weight range.  FORWARD partners include health care providers, education, government, social service organizations and private businesses. DuPage County has five FORWARD regions all coordinated by Central Programming, which includes an Advisory Board, County-wide Coalition, Leadership and Staff, Data Collection and Evaluation, Marketing and Promotion, Resources and Partnership, and Advocacy. More information is available at


Healthy Kids, Healthy Families is a three-year initiative designed to encourage healthy education, promote physical activity, prevent and manage disease, and support safe environments for children. The program works through investments and partnerships with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children directly, through schools and other third parties. The program is supported by Health Care Service Corporation and its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. For more information, please visit

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