SC officials unveil plan to fight obesity

Published: Sep. 24, 2014 at 9:38 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2014 at 10:17 AM EDT
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According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, two out of three adults in South Carolina, and one out of three children, are overweight or obese.

Now, there's a plan to reduce the rate of obesity in South Carolina.

"It kills the most people. It makes the most sick, and it costs us the most in health care," explained Catherine Templeton, Director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

According to Templeton, obesity costs South Carolina $8.5-billion per year.

"That may be healthcare reimbursement, fee for service and Medicaid," said Templeton.

For two years, DHEC and the South Carolina Obesity Council have been working to put together a plan to slim down South Carolinians.

The Obesity Action Plan focuses on education, improving communities, worksites, healthcare, and schools.

For example, by June 2015, the objective is to increase the number of farmers markets that accept electronic benefit transfers (EBT) by 20 percent.

Another objective is to have the S.C. School Board Association adopt and distribute 81 school districts a model policy that provides open community access to school recreational facilities. In the plan, that objective should be met by January 2015.

"We're going to make a difference," said Templeton. "We're going to be able to say we made a difference next year."

When it comes to health care strategies, experts have set an objective to establish a system for collecting and monitoring Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance data for all people being seen for obesity in the state. According to the plan layout, that objective should be met by June 2016.

By June 2015, experts want to increase the number of South Carolina schools and child care centers taking part in the Farm to School program. One of the actions recommended to make this happen, is to host networking workshops to develop relationships between farmers and school district personnel and their food distributor.

Bruce Snyder, Past President of the South Carolina Medical Association, likes the plan, but calls it a first step.

"We need to get our local communities, go to our school boards. We need to get them involved and active as well," said Snyder.

Click here for a link to the SCaledown web site.

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