Childhood obesity in South Carolina
Much of America has fallen into unhealthy patterns of eating high-fat, low nutrient diets. Combined with infrequent exercise, the outcome has been an epidemic of obesity. Minorities are disproportionately affected, as are families living in poverty. The problem of obesity and diabetes is especially pronounced in the Southeastern U.S., which has an obesity prevalence of more than 30 percent and diagnosis of diabetes greater than 10 percent. South Carolina ranks 8th in the nation for obesity, and the prevalence of obesity in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties are 26 percent, 34 percent and 31 percent, respectively (South Carolina DHEC, 2010). A recent MUSC study found that 43 percent of children in the Charleston County School District, 67 percent of its adults and 70 percent of its teachers were either overweight or obese.
The Boeing Center for Children's Wellness was created to assist families in adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors through family-centered clinical programs paired with policy and environmental changes in schools and communities. The Boeing Center for Children's Wellness is built upon the success of existing prevention and treatment programs.
(School and Community Programs) (Clinical Programs)
Each program has a proven track record of success in promotion of wellness in families, schools, businesses and communities. The Center is grounded in the recognition that wellness does not occur through the promotion of one activity, but many. Accordingly, it brings together a comprehensive range of innovative activities and services designed to help patients and their families improve nutrition, activity and lifestyle behaviors, including:
- medical evaluations (ages 2-21)
- group education classes
- fitness sessions (Heart Health participants)
- nutrition and behavioral counseling sessions
- community, school and business-based special events
- school-based policy and environmental changes
The Center is unique in how it combines these elements in a single program, carried out in school, community and clinic-based settings, targeting more than 175,000 at-risk children statewide. Moreover, no other program in our state aspires toward these goals under the auspices of a public academic medical center, guided by a central mission to serve the state's underserved.