Celebrating 10 Years of Impacting Healthy Lifestyle Choices Across DuPage
FORWARD’s past 10 years are fueled by incredible people, we’re shining a spotlight on few each quarter from our vast network of partners dedicated to healthy lifestyle improvements and advocates for change. Here's to you and our incredible years of change ahead! 
Celebrating Community Impact Spotlight on Change!
Catalyst for Change - Paul Zientarski

In 1985, Naperville District 203 Physical Education (P.E.) Coordinator, Phil Lawler, and the Department Chairman, Paul Zientarski had a vision for collective professional development that grew into an annual Institute Day held in DuPage County for Health, P.E. and Driver’s Education teachers. During these early days the idea of changing P.E. from participation in sports based on the score to a focus on everyone being an active participant began to form. 

In 2003, Naperville Central High School found that some of their students were not performing at grade level in reading. The school formed a special 1st period reading class for these students and created a before-school (zero hour) P.E. class so that students taking this extra literacy class could still participate in P.E., as mandated by the state of Illinois at that time. This zero hour P.E. class was called Learning Readiness P.E. (LRPE), and was created in-house by Phil and Paul after a visit from Dr. John Ratey, a brain researcher and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who helped the two conceptualize the program. It was a class designed based on neuroscience research that indicated the more physically active and fit the student, the better the academic performance.

An LRPE program is different from a sports based model, it focuses on the importance of staying active with an emphasis on health and wellness. It was based on a student’s efforts not on their sports skills. Every LRPE class includes a cardio component for at least 20 minutes, coupled with the use of heart rate monitors to ensure that students are reaching their targeted heart rate zones. Paul Zientarski, was the first LRPE Coordinator for Naperville District 203. He took this opportunity to test whether or not physical activity could have an impact on the academic performance of his students. He found that students who participated in LRPE increased their capabilities in literacy by 52-56% and in math by 93% along with improvements in behavior and obesity levels.

In 2009, he was invited to become a part of the FORWARD DuPage Board. With his strong belief in data driving decision making and results, he helped push for local BMI surveillance in school-aged children county-wide. FORWARD has used his research, connections, and expertise to assist with efforts to help all DuPage schools to become healthier and LRPE has become a model for school districts across the country and around the world. Paul is a true catalyst for change!

Click here for more school resources.
Share YOUR Accomplishments
For 10 years our partners have engaged in expanding healthy lifestyles for residents across DuPage County. Contact us or post your activity here and become eligible for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Whole Foods.
Spread the Pledge
The power of FORWARD DuPage is fueled by our partners and your commitment to use your energy and influence to make improvements in nutrition, physical activity and the built environment where you live, work, play and pray. Click here to take the pledge.
Webinar Series Launch
FORWARD DuPage is launching a webinar series. Every other month beginning in October, listen in or watch to learn more about healthy lifestyle issues and how to accelerate change for yourself, your family and your community.

October 3, 2019 - 11:30am
"Obesity: The Biggest Health Problem"
Resources, Resources, Resources!
On April 1, 2019, the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions of the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sci­ences, Engineering, and Medicine, held a public workshop, A Health Equity Approach to Obesity Efforts, in Washington, DC.
A draft of the National Youth Sports Strategy will soon be available to review and provide public comment. Once it is published, comments will only be accepted for a two week period.
Game On is a no-cost online guide from Action for Healthy Kids that provides all the information and resources you need to host a successful school wellness program in your school. New activities and ideas every month!
Healthy Lifestyle
Legislative & Advocacy Update
FORWARD DuPage serves as a leadership member of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity (IAPO). We encourage partners to get involved in helping to advance policies to support healthy lifestyle choices across Illinois. To learn more about IAPO and their priorities  click here .
  Victory! Active Trans campaign for state walking and biking fund wins $50 million per year.
Healthy Lifestyles in the News
Nearly 70% of Chicago parents report a challenge in healthy eating for their kids.
The brain gobbles up almost half of a child's energy. When this changes the risk of obesity may increase.
Obesity rates falling among low-income preschoolers.
Not drinking enough water may lead to consuming to much sugary drink.
Upcoming Opportunities
Childhood Obesity Conference
Beyond Obesity: Tackling Root Causes
July 15-18
Anaheim, CA

The conference is the nation's largest collaboration of professionals dedicated to fighting obesity. Register here .
Roundtable on Obesity Solutions
New Webinar

Thursday, July 18
12:00pm ET

The webinar will explore the role of infant and early childhood nutrition related to prevention of obesity. Register here .
New Webinar
Wednesday, July 17
2:00pm ET

This webinar will explore partnerships for engagement regarding accessibility of public spaces. Register here .
Cooking with Your Fall Garden
Thursday, July 18
5:00pm to 7:00pm

Learn how to prepare your fall garden for an extended season of fresh vegetables. RSVP here .
Forest Preserve
Volunteer Restoration Workday
Saturday, July 20
9:00am to 12:00pm

Help improve a prairie or woodland by collecting seeds or removing nonnative plants. Free.   Register here .
Active Transportation Alliance
Ambassador Training
Wednesday, July 24
6:00pm to 7:30pm

Want to represent Active Trans at future city and suburban events and help us spread our message? Sign up here .
Forest Preserve
Yoga on the Lawn

July 24 - July 31 - August 7 - August 14
7:30am to 8:30am

Start your day in nature with an outdoor yoga class designed for beginners and led by experienced yoga practitioners. Ages 18 and up. $40 per person in advance for four part session. $14 per class for drop-ins. Register here .
Volunteer Workday at the Nursery

Saturday, July 27
8:00am to 11:00am

Lend a hand weeding, watering, or collecting and cleaning seeds from native grasses and flowers. Ages 12 and up; under 18 with an adult. Free.  Register here at least five days in advance.
The Conservation Foundation
Summer Camp at MacDonald Farm

Monday, July 29 thru Friday, August 2 (1st-3rd Graders)
Monday, August 5 thru Friday, August 9 (4th-6th Graders)

Campers will learn about all the natural curiosities of the 60-acre McDonald Farm, in addition to growing and eating healthy foods, led by our experienced environmental educators. Find out more information and r egister here .
Fox Valley Sustainability Network
Transportation Forum

Wednesday, July 31
10:00am to 12:00pm

The forum will take place at the Prisco Center in Aurora and will look into what Fox River counties are doing to make their communities more bikeable and walkable.  Register here .
The Resiliency Institute
Shinirin-Yoku FREE Fridays

Friday, August 2 & September 6
5:30pm to 6:30pm

Enjoy a one hour introductory Shinrin-yoku walk guided by a Certified Forest Therapy guide. For information click here .
B.R. Ryall
Family Drum to the Beat
Wednesday, August 7
6:30pm to 7:30pm

This calorie-burning workout, set to hit music, is fun for the whole family. For more information, click here .
Active Transportation Alliance
Boulevard Lakefront Tour

Sunday, August 11
10:00am to 12:00pm

Explore the city, choose your distance. Bike through some of Chicago’s greatest neighborhoods on August 11 while checking out historical landmarks and points of interest. Sign up here .
Meet Up at Downers Grove
Health Optimization in a Toxic World

August 13 - September 10

Bring your laptop or tablet to connect to the internet and explore some of the research for yourself. Dale's science background and tenacity for the real story on health issues will help affirm all Natural Health Enthusiasts. RSVP here .
National Walking Summit

Tuesday, September 24
8:00am to 5:00pm

The summit will focus on localized geographic-based convenings that will feature the unique characteristic of each place. Purchase tickets here .
Harvest Against Hunger

Saturday, September 28

At the 2nd Annual Fundraiser enjoy creatively made seasonal food, locally sourced drinks and a signature cocktail . For more information, click here .
Be an Agent of Change
The challenges facing children and families to support healthy lifestyles will take the combined passions, expertise and influence of many. If you're reading this message, you are one of those influencers. Join us in our mission:
  • Donate - Too many families don't have access to the services and resources they need to stay healthy. In honor of our 10th anniversary, we've set our sights on raising $200,000 for change. Every dollar will support FORWARD DuPage's work to build capacity in communities where the need is great and the resources are too few.
  • Sign-Up - Join our coalition of thousands of partners so we can drive change for children and families and improve healthy lifestyle outcomes together.
  • Share Our Message - Spread the word about our 10th Anniversary and the impact we have had on our website or on the social media links at the bottom of the page.
Do you subscribe to the IMPACT DuPage Newsletter?
Impact DuPage is a county-wide initiative of partner organizations working to influence change in the areas of affordable housing, access to health treatment, behavioral health treatment, substance abuse and healthy lifestyles. FORWARD is Impact DuPage’s vehicle to help influence residents and partners to make positive choices regarding nutrition, physical activity, and the built environment
to improve healthy status improvement.

For more details and to stay up to date on local progress, click here and subscribe to their twice a month newsletter.  
Help Us Get the Word Out!
Do you know of an upcoming event or health fair in DuPage County?

5-4-3-2-1 Go! ® is a public education message with recommendations for children and families to promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • 4 servings of water a day
  • 3 servings of low-fat dairy a day
  • 2 or less hours of screen time a day
  • 1 or more hours of physical activity a day
For helpful resources and ideas on how to incorporate this message in your DuPage County organization click here .

If you are interested in distributing health and wellness materials at an upcoming event call 630.221.7550 or email or Tonia Batogowski at