Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

News

S.C. communities making progress in fight against obesity

More than half of South Carolina’s counties are taking steps to provide healthy eating and active living options to their residents in an effort to prevent obesity and to reduce the current obesity rates. That’s according to the 2011 State of the State Report released today by the South Carolina Eat Smart, Move More Coalition. The report provides a snapshot of the progress that South Carolina has made in making the healthy choice the easy choice.

“The report highlights communities that support and promote the adoption of policy and environmental strategies to improve nutrition and increase physical activity,” said Beth Barry, Chairman of the South Carolina Eat Smart, Move More Coalition. “Communities have begun to embrace the many advantages of adopting and implementing programs like Complete Streets, Farm to School, and other effective interventions.”

Complete Streets provides for safe bicycling, walking, and motorized options to build a more livable and accessible community for citizens of all ages and abilities. Many cities and counties in the state adopted Complete Streets resolutions or ordinances in 2011. Farm to School brings locally grown produce into schools. Many schools, farmers and food service providers are participating in the program.

Recognizing the impact of health, environmental, educational, and economic factors on the state’s food systems, communities are looking more at relevant and community-focused ways to increase access to healthy food choices. In 2011, the number of community gardens, community supported agriculture programs and farmer’s markets continued to grow throughout the state.

“The information compiled in this report demonstrates the value of collaboration among many different partners in the state,” said Erika Kirby, Director, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. “This information helps us answer the question of what is occurring at the state and local levels in S.C. to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and it depicts how our state is committed to a coordinated approach toward our progress in addressing healthy eating and active living.”

As more local Eat Smart, Move More chapters and coalitions are established, these entities are helping to advocate and educate on how to create communities to support healthy eating and active living. For specific success stories from the Child Care/Preschool, Community, Faith, Health Care, School, and Worksite settings please see the complete report.