May 022013



Thursday, May 2, 2013

North Carolina can boast exceptional resources devoted to the maintenance and improvement of health, including those like East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine here in Pitt County. Yet, despite such facilities and organizations working toward that common goal, the state lags behind much of the country in overall general health, consistently ranking in the bottom third by most measures.

Now state officials, led by a former assistant state treasurer, hope to turn those numbers around by challenging residents to embrace a more active lifestyle in the interest of improved overall health. The program — called “A Healthier N.C.” — hopes to win the participation of at least 1 million citizens who pledge to lose 10 million pounds, and represents a noble effort to improve lives across the state.

East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine is among those institutions devoted to the cause of building a healthier state. It consistently ranks among the top schools in the country for its primary care programs, and it annually graduates talented students who serve in North Carolina’s many rural communities.

The task before these newly minted doctors is immense. According to the United Health Foundation, a non-profit that compiled annual rankings, the state ranks among the worst in the country for infant mortality, smoking rate, obesity, diabetes and premature death. Those problems are far more widespread and severe in regions like eastern North Carolina, where a higher percentage of residents lack access to health care and insurance.

The 2011 state health ranking, the most recent, landed North Carolina at No. 42 for public health funding, so it is clear that government can do more to build an infrastructure that promotes better health and provides preventative care. But lifestyle and habits play an enormous role in overall health, and individuals should take responsibility for adopting a proper diet and well-rounded exercise routine.

That is precisely what the “Healthier N.C.” challenge intends to encourage. Tom Campbell, who served in Raleigh and founded the weekly public-affairs program N.C. SPIN, began the initiative with the ambitious goal of motivating 1 million residents into action. It will not be easy, but for those people who want a better life, it may be the catalyst for action. Those interested should visit the website — — to register and begin tracking their activity and weight loss.

A healthier state is within North Carolina’s grasp if it chooses. The challenge is there. Embrace it.

via The Daily Reflector.


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