News Room

Jefferson County and our surrounding communities can be healthier and live healthier. Our current health status, according to, isn’t so good. Of the 72 counties in Wisconsin, Jefferson County ranks 33rd for overall health outcomes, 39th for morbidity (overall health, physical health, mental health and babies born with a low birth weight) and 44th for health behaviors (alcohol and tobacco use, sexual activity, diet and exercise). Walworth County has a more favorable rank of 22nd in the health behaviors category, but fares worse in two indicators: 38th for overall health outcomes and 57th for morbidity.

Our goals
Fort HealthCare’s vision is “Be the healthiest community in Wisconsin.” How do we make this a reality? As the leading healthcare provider in our region, Fort HealthCare has determined that a wide-reaching health and wellness campaign—directed to the public as well as our partners—can positively affect change. Our strategies for making significant changes in health outcomes, health behaviors and morbidity focus on health and  wellness education, awareness of critical health issues and encouraging healthful behaviors.

We believe the goal to create Wisconsin’s healthiest community is a bold, daring, challenging and incredibly important undertaking. To make this happen, we need to:

  • Educate area residents on the benefits of becoming the healthiest community in Wisconsin help each community be ready to embrace and act upon health-related messages.
  • Help area residents to see the benefits of healthy eating, health screenings and lifestyle improvements.
  • Encourage individual responsibility and accountability.

If we accomplish our goals, we’ll improve our status in the county health rankings and, ultimately, create the healthiest community in Wisconsin. Your role is quite specific. We want you to exercise regularly and follow a diet that provides you and your family with healthy, nutritious foods. Also, we’ll remind you to have regular health screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, and encourage you to maintain or establish an ongoing relationship with a Fort HealthCare primary care physician.

Rather than focusing on one individual at a time, we hope to motivate all individuals to see how their health affects the overall population. Our messages will encourage everyone to work toward a shared goal. The call to action and campaign brand is: Let’s Do This! Our theme is a literal call to action. It’s positive, motivating and, hopefully, appeals to all audiences, from individuals to employers to community coalitions. You’ll see this mark
throughout all our print, outdoor and social media. And, you’ll hear this message in our radio advertisements. Are you in? Let’s Do This!

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In this age of taco palaces, microwave meals and energy bars, some kids probably think the food pyramid is some ancient Egyptian relic. Overstated? Not necessarily, when you consider that almost 17% of kids ages 2 to 19 are obese; that diabetes, a debilitating disease strongly linked to obesity and inactivity, is rising among children and teens; and that by age 10, most overweight kids already have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Ideas for happy meals
Nutritionists recommend these steps for getting your child on course for a lifetime of better eating habits:

  • Trim the meat. Sure, it’s protein-packed, but red meat is also a culprit in heart disease and some cancers. Better to offer it as a side dish of 3 ounces or less and make fruits and vegetables the main course.
  • Serve less. Watch portion sizes closely so kids don’t consume excess calories. Rule of thumb: Your preschooler’s portion should be two-thirds the size of a regular portion.
  • Play traffic cop. Use a traffic-light model for your kids’ diet: Serve “green-light” foods like whole grains, rice, pasta, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter and low-fat dairy often; serve “yellow-light” items like pancakes, lean meat, poultry, baked goods and jams in moderation; and serve “red-light” foods like doughnuts, bacon, French fries, butter, junk foods, sweets and soda rarely.

5-3-2-1-almost none
The pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners at Fort HealthCare Internal Medicine & Pediatrics recommend the “5-3-2-1-almost none” model for children’s wellness:

  • 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily
  • 3 structured meals daily: Eat breakfast, less fast food and more meals prepared at home
  • 2 hours or less of television or video games daily
  • 1 hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily
  • Almost none sugar-sweetened drinks


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Fitting fittness into your child's dayThere’s no denying it: American kids are getting bigger. In fact, the number of obese teens has tripled over the last three decades. If your kids aren’t getting the minimum 60 minutes of daily activity recommended for children younger than 18 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s time to involve them in some age-appropriate activities that encourage them to get moving.

For preschoolers
For children who aren’t yet school age, experts recommend “free play.” This means encouraging them to go outside and run around – with proper supervision, of course. Take them to the playground, teach them how to play tag and hide-and-seek, toss them a ball to chase, even if they’re too young to catch it. The point is to keep them moving.

Show your kids how to take advantage of the sights and sounds of the season. Organize a sledding party, build a snowman or make snow angels to enjoy the winter weather. Your little ones may even like helping parents clear off the sidewalks or driveway. This will help teach them that being active doesn’t have to be boring.

For school-age kids
Once kids reach school age, they can begin playing sports and become involved in other group activities. Younger children benefit from activities such as ballet and gymnastics or team sports like soccer and baseball. And if your children’s school offers physical activity programs, make sure your kids are making the most of them. If competitive sports don’t appeal to your children, encourage them to try activities like in-line skating or skateboarding. Just make sure they wear the proper protective gear like helmets and wrist guards. Also, this is a good time to begin thinking about ImPACT screening, just in case a concussion ever happens.

Also, this is a great time to consider participating in our Shapedown program. The program builds on the strength of the family while gently and effectively supporting families in creating an active lifestyle and a healthy diet. Parents learn skills to curb their child’s emotional overeating and sharpen limit-setting skills to prompt children toward a healthier lifestyle. Children accept more responsibility for diet and activity and feel happier and safer. Food becomes less important, activity more exciting and the child’s weight begins to normalize.

For tweens and teens
Older kids have even more opportunities to be active. Unfortunately, they have more sedentary distractions, too, like texting and video games. As your children’s independence begins to take hold, encourage them to choose activities they enjoy. They may want to get involved in school sports like track, basketball, cheerleading or football. Expose them to other activities like martial arts or aerobics. And don’t forget, fun activities like  dancing, jumping rope and playing Frisbee burn calories, too!

For other suggestions or to find out if your child is on track with growth and development, talk with your child’s pediatrician or other provider. And don’t forget, Shapedown is an excellent and cost-effective way to build a stronger child and relationship with your

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