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Battling Childhood Obesity



Mitch Kennedy, Community Services Director, City of Spartanburg
Renée Romberger, Vice President, Community Health Policy and Strategy, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

An Update: Click here for a summary of obesity initiatives underway in SC

The Issue:

Obesity and lack of physical activity increase the risk for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, arthritis, sleep apnea, and depression, costing SC over $1 billion annually on related medical costs. In 2010, two-thirds of South Carolina’s adults were obese or overweight, and counties with the highest poverty rate are especially vulnerable. If current trends continue, one out of three children born in 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes, primarily due to poor diet and lack of activity (SC DHEC).

Overarching goal: To lower the rates of childhood obesity in South Carolina

What we have done: Talked with people working on the ground across South Carolina and discovered exciting initiatives already underway that are bringing healthier foods into the cafeterias of South Carolina schools

Presented Critical Issues 2013: Battling Childhood Obesity in South Carolina at OneSouthCarolina on March 1, 2013 from 1 - 5 p.m., an intense four-hour workshop for interested DLI alumni that looked at the problem of childhood obesity in South Carolina, programs underway to address it, and ways community leaders can play a role in effecting change.

What we have learned:

  • A one-size-fits-all approach does not work for effecting change in diverse communities
  • The importance of supporting policy change and tapping into existing resources

2013 Goal: Educate leaders and connect them to resources with the goal of empowering change at the local level

How you can plug in: 

  • Begin discussions in your community with school leaders about healthier nutritional choices
  • Advocate for removing sugary and high-calorie snacks and lunch items
  • Talk with your school principal about what their school is doing to promote child wellness
  • Partner with Eat Smart Move More or other local organizations to promote child wellness

Get involved!

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