A new partnership hopes to make healthier lifestyles, including more locally grown produce and options for outdoor activities, more accessible to people in Baldwin County.
The Live Healthy Baldwin campaign, run by Georgia College and State University’s Jim Lidstone, is raising awareness about the county’s high obesity and diabetes rates, and poor access to nutritional food.
Lidstone says one in ten people in Baldwin County has Type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the adult obesity rate in the county rose above 30 percent in 2007.
Georgia ranked 14th in 2009 among adult obesity rates across the U.S, according to the Trust for America’s Health “F” as in Fat report. The surgeon general’s office says two thirds of adults and nearly one in three kids nationwide are obese or overweight.
Lidstone says the partnership is part of a larger nationwide movement sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s “Healthy Kids Healthy Communities” campaign. He says they hope to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in 50 communities by 2015.
“We’ve engineered physical activity out of our lives and we’ve gotten so busy that we resort to quick meals on the run,” Lidstone said. “We’re trying to change the environment and change policy to facilitate greater access to physical activity and greater access to healthy affordable food.”
Lidstone says there is a direct link between diabetes and obesity and cardiovascular disease. He says by making eating healthy, local food a more convenient choice for families, he hopes they can see the health of people throughout Baldwin County improve.
He says the group will use more than $300,000 in grant funding to develop bike and pedestrian friendly routes across the county, and help fund community gardens and farmers markets.