Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice


2017 Marks ESMMSC 10-Year Anniversary

Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year! Founded in 2007, ESMMSC is one of the first non-profit organizations of its kind in South Carolina focusing on both healthy eating and active living. Its roots date back to 1999 when the South Carolina Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity formed and received nonprofit status in 2000. After changing its name to ESMMSC in 2007, the organization merged with the SC Coalition for Obesity Prevention.

Today, ESMMSC has evolved, and is recognized as a convener and thought leader around healthy eating active living strategies in communities throughout South Carolina. Collaboration is fundamental to our success, and we cannot do this work alone. We are fortunate to have over 2,400 partners, including 25 ESMM Chapters representing 28 counties, community coalition partners, state organizations, national and regional associations, and other private and public partners.

“This year, we are going to feature our founding partners and leaders of ESMMSC.   These individuals were instrumental in the development and growth of this organization; because of their commitment, ESMMSC has positively impacted the lives of so many people in South Carolina,” said Beth Franco, MBA, ESMMSC Executive Director. “For this article, it is an honor to spotlight ESMMSC’s first Executive Director, Amy Splittgerber.”


ESMMSC: This year we celebrate our 10-year anniversary. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about that?

Splittgerber: After pouring genuine blood, sweat, and tears into ESMMSC, I am beyond thrilled to join so many in South Carolina to celebrate this special 10-year anniversary!

ESMMSC: What were your visions in 2007?

Splittgerber: In 2007, obesity was just emerging as a public health concern on its own.  There were no best practices established. We created our own vision and mission and created a strategic plan to make the healthy choice the easy choice for South Carolinians. Honestly, in the early years, it was like building the bicycle as you are trying to learn to ride it!

ESMMSC: In your opinion, have the founding visions been met?

Splittgerber: In my opinion, the vision is still the same – healthy people in healthy communities. The vision has not been achieved, yet we know how to get there. There are clear best practices and demonstration projects around the country that have been successful and demonstrated impact on childhood obesity rates. The bicycle is finished – we know how to ride – we have just not arrived as our destination……yet!

ESMMSC: What do you see as ESMMSC’s biggest accomplishments since 2007?

Splittgerber: I think the biggest accomplishment has been the establishment, support and sustainability of local community coalitions who are working to make the healthy choice the easy choice across multiple settings (school, healthcare, childcare, faith and the community at large).  These coalitions are empowered and focused to create more opportunities for healthful eating and for fun and safe places to play and be active.  Only when everyone has the same opportunities to eat healthfully and be physically active can we expect change to happen and rates of obesity to begin to decline.

ESMMSC: Where would you like to see ESMMSC in 10 years?

Splittgerber: It remains my sincere desire to see ESMMSC continue to flourish, grow and thrive throughout SC.  I would like to see sustainable, local Healthy Eating / Active Living coalitions in every county.  I would like the healthy choice TO BE the easy choice throughout South Carolina.

Amy Splittgerber is the Executive Director of the South Carolina Alliance of YMCAs, where she coordinates the statewide implementation of high impact YMCA initiatives for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.