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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2011

June observed as Obesity Awareness Month

COLUMBIA - South Carolinians are encouraged to join in obesity prevention efforts where they live, work and play; and to make healthier decisions in their day-to-day lives during Obesity Awareness Month, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“Obesity is linked to eating unhealthy foods and not being physically active which increases the risk for chronic diseases such as: heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers,” said Erika Kirby, director of DHEC’s Division of Obesity Prevention and Control. “In South Carolina, we have high rates of chronic diseases that are tied to poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and rates of overweight and obesity. We need to recognize that there are environmental barriers such as safe and adequate places to be active, and access to healthy foods.”

Kirby said more than half of all Americans are overwieght or obese and more than 67 percent of all South Carolinians are in those categories.

“We’ve provided leadership in using evidence-based strategies in many different settings so that our children and citizens can have increased access to healthy foods and safe places to be active,” she said.

Kirby said DHEC has joined with other community partners through the Eat Smart, Move More Coalition to coordinate obesity prevention efforts across the state and the implementation of the state’s Obesity Prevention Plan.

For more information about obesity in South Carolina, see DHEC’s webpage at: http://www.scdhec.gov/obesity. For more information about Eat Smart, Move More SC, visit http://esmmsc.org.

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For more information:
Joann Minder – (803) 545-4501
Email – minderjm@dhec.sc.gov
or
Jim Beasley – (803) 898-7769
Email – beaslejc@dhec.sc.gov
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