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_LaSalle County, Ill. authorities are continuing with recent programs to distribute nicotine patches to smokers and increase awareness to school officials about diabetes and obesity, said county health department spokeswoman Jenny Barrie. The report emphasized the need to do so, she said.

_Authorities in central Michigan, where the lowest-ranked counties are located, created a “We Can” initiative to improve health measures including obesity, inactivity and poor nutrition. Monthly brainstorming sessions have been held involving officials from local health departments, mental health agencies, colleges and elsewhere, and a working plan is expected to be developed in April, said Mary Kushion, health officer for the Central Michigan District Health Department.

“We really do have a common theme and a common mission” Kushion said. “We know that we are much better prepared and able to address the issues than we were” last year.



The report being released Wednesday can be found at: