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Let’s Go! South Carolina: Communities work to create healthy community and school environments

HEAL_ObjectiveThis article is the second in a series of four articles focusing on the four objectives of the Let’s Go! South Carolina Community Initiative with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation and the six participating counties: Anderson, Barnwell, Hampton, Kershaw, Laurens and York.

Over the next three years, the six Let’s Go! South Carolina communities will work to implement sustainable healthy eating and active living strategies in their communities and schools. Currently, each community coalition is finalizing its action plan for year one.

“All of our Let’s Go! South Carolina coalitions are focusing on policy, systems, and environmental changes that can be made in their communities to improve access to healthy foods and create more opportunities to be physically active,” said Hannah Walters, Let’s Go! South Carolina project manager. “We are thrilled to be working with these communities to expand on the work they’ve already done to make lasting changes in their communities.”

Policy, systems, and environmental changes are important because where we live, learn, work, play, and pray affects our ability to make healthy choices. Simply put, we can’t make healthy decisions if they aren’t available or affordable.

  • Here’s a snap shot of just a few of the issues the Let’s Go communities will pursue during the first year of the project:
    Anderson County is working to make Farmers Markets more accessible to all community members by enrolling the markets in the South Carolina Healthy Bucks program, which incentivizes SNAP participants to purchase fruits and vegetables at the Farmers Market. Anderson will also be conducting a Let’s Go to the Farmer’s Market campaign to promote the markets and encourage more residents to visit.
  • Barnwell County plans to build on the successes of a recent Active Community Environment Special Project by implementing recommendations from a Safe Routes to School assessment to provide safer opportunities for students to be physically active before and after the school day.
  • Hampton County is planning to partner with local school districts on adopting an open community use policy, so that community members have access to school playgrounds and outdoor recreation facilities before and after the school day.
  • Keshaw County is working with partners to design an active recreation trail to create connectivity among parks in the city of Camden.
  • Laurens County is working with community leaders to incorporate healthy eating and active living priorities in the updated City Comprehensive Plan.
  • York County is working with York and Clover to develop bicycle & pedestrian plans that will connect to existing county bike routes.

Eat Smart Move More South Carolina is excited to work alongside the Let’s Go communities as they implement these and many other healthy eating, active living strategies in the coming years. Stay tuned! We will provide updates on each community over the course of the three-year grant.