Charleston Regional Business Journal Staff Report
Published March 27, 2012
A new initiative launched by Mayor Joseph Riley aims to help the Charleston community become more active and lose 100,000 pounds.
Lighten Up Charleston was introduced by Riley and members of the community steering committee on Monday at the Charleston Maritime Center. The mission of the group is to help members of the community lose a collective 100,000 pounds and to be recognized as the healthiest city in the southeastern U.S. by the end of the program’s first year.
“Over the past 30 years, America has experienced a dramatic rise in the incidence of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including hypertension,” Riley said. “Medical care sustains people suffering with these health problems but cannot cure them. As a result, medical care costs have accelerated but health status has deteriorated. Many of these health problems are due to lifestyle choices, primarily inadequate nutrition and physical inactivity.
“This situation takes a heavy toll on our children and senior population,” he added.
The initiative partners the city’s steering committee with MUSC, Roper St. Francis, the College of Charleston, the Citadel, Charleston County School District, Benefitfocus and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control Region 7.
“Community health and wellness is the next frontier in medicine, and data has shown that success in weight loss depends on not just the individual but groups and the community,” said Dr. Marcus Newberry, one of the co-chairmen for Lighten Up Charleston. “This project is my number one priority because of its importance to the future of our population.”
An interactive website, www.lightenupcharleston.org, allows people to find programs in the community to get healthy, track progress and learn ways to lose weight. People can log in and report their weight loss, create a group, tell their stories or seek help from the many partners.