Kershaw County Enlists Businesses to Encourage Healthy Living
Kershaw County health advocates have been working hard to get local businesses involved in the healthy eating, active living movement. In 2012, Eat Smart, Move More Kershaw County (ESMMKC) received a Healthy South Carolina Initiative grant, in part, to assist with the implementation of two components of the Let’s Go! campaign – Let’s Go to the Grocery Store and Let’s Go H2O. The project focused on getting at least 50 businesses to encourage healthy choices to their customers and employees through the use of signage. ESMMKC partnered with KershawHealth’s Healthy Kershaw County Initiative and United Way of Kershaw County’s Health Care Council to plan and implement the campaigns.
Let’s Go to the Grocery Store
ESMMKC immediately partnered with Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the county. Through the partnership, two healthy checkout lanes were established. Rather than featured candy and high fat snacks, the healthy checkout lanes featured fruits, healthy snacks, jump ropes and other physical activity related tools.
In addition to the healthy checkout lanes, ESMMKC placed Eat Smart and Move More signage through Wal-Mart. On the grocery side, every healthy choice received either eat smart shelf tags, bean clips, freezer clings or banners. On the merchandise side, physical activity items received move more shelf tags. The healthy grocery store labeling helps customers identify healthy options.
ESMMKC is convinced the campaign is working. While waiting in the healthy checkout lane at Wal-Mart, a coalition member observed the interaction of a child and her grandmother discussing the purchase of a jump rope in that lane. The coalition member and the grandmother were pleased with the girl’s selection, and ESMMKC is encouraged to see their efforts were making a positive change.
ESMMKC has since partnered with Piggly Wiggly and IGA in East Camden, and the Let’Go! signage can be found in those store, respectively.
Let’s Go H2O
It’s no secret that sugar-sweetened beverages are easily accessible and highly advertised, while water doesn’t get the credit it deserves. ESMMKC decided to fight the sugar-sweetened beverage battle through the Let’s Go H2O campaign countywide to encourage residents to replace their sugary drinks with water.
ESMMKC used the Let’s Go H2O signage in their campaign, however, they personalized the signs. Rather than using the signs with the existing images, they decided to replace the images with local people. Employees of 40 businesses were captured drinking water and used on the posters, which were placed in their facility. The posters display common choices of drink beverages and their total number of teaspoons of sugar per drink. Strategic placement of these posters included sites such as, break rooms, drink machines, and cafeterias.
In addition to signage, ESMMKC decided to take advantage of social media and closed network television within the school district. They created an original video using two students from each school – elementary through high school – to sing and dance a rendition of the popular line dance song The Wobble. Renamed Water, Baby, the short video was shown district-wide to each school’s student body during their morning show. The video was also placed on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media outlets.
During the filming of the video, the students were shocked at the amount of sugar in drinks they often drink. Also, Target Distribution Center expanded the Let’s Go H2O campaign. Not only did they display their personalized Let’s Go H2O posters provided by ESMMKC, but they also created displays in their lobby demonstrating why you should drink water. Cases of water and water bottles were given to their employees to encourage them to choose water over sugar-sweetened beverages.
Kershaw County’s successes with these two Let’s Go! campaigns, prove that people are open to making healthy choices when healthy choices are promoted over the heavily-marketed and unhealthy alternatives.