Pickens County Forms Eat Smart Move More Chapter to Support a Healthier Community

The number of local Eat Smart Move More coalitions, has increased to 26, thanks to the desire of partners in Pickens County to make system changes that provide healthy options for all of their residents. Chapter partners are: SC Department of Social Services (ABC Quality), Safe Kids Upstate, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, Pickens City Recreation Department, Pickens County School District, Southern Wesleyan University, The Samaritan Health Clinic, SC Inclusion Collaborative, Foothills Community Health Clinic, Baptist Easley Hospital, East Pickens Baptist Church, Anmed Health, and Cannon Hospital.

“Often our environments aren’t supportive of healthy eating and active living, and our mission is to change that by making the healthy choice the easy choice,” said Eat Smart Move More SC (ESMMSC) Executive Director Beth Franco. “We are excited that leaders in Pickens County recognize the seriousness of the obesity issue and have chosen to create their local chapter to coordinate efforts and to address the issue.”

According to 2017 County Health Rankings data, approximately 32 percent of South Carolina’s adult population is obese. The adult obesity rate for Pickens County is 30 percent. Obesity contributes to serious health conditions, rising healthcare costs, and a decline in the overall quality of life for our citizens.

Last year, the Pickens County Health Coalition completed a county-wide health needs and resource assessment. The group participated in a community engagement process to delve further into the most pressing concerns regarding the health status of Pickens County residents.

“Through a strategic planning process ending in the fall of 2016, the Coalition identified healthy eating and active living as an area of primary focus,” said Tia Prostko, MS, IBCLC, chair of Eat Smart Move More Pickens County.  “As a result, we decided to join forces with ESMMSC and become a local chapter.”

By becoming a local Eat Smart Move More chapter, counties work to implement system and policy changes that increase access and affordability of healthier options for people of all races, ages, and income levels. Examples of county-level system improvements are: ensuring government employees and the public have access to healthier food and beverages options in vending machines, supplying nutritious foods in school cafeterias, identifying areas that need safer walking or biking routes to school, and creating healthier worksites.

For a complete list of ESMMSC chapters, additional county-specific data, and community groups participating in the ESMMSC movement, visit www.eatsmartmovemoresc.org.