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LiveWell Kershaw moves forward

Posted: December 16, 2012 1:29 p.m.
Updated: December 17, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Representatives from LiveWell Kershaw, an initiative to make Kershaw County the healthiest in the state, wrapped up the last of six public meetings Dec. 6 in an effort to receive feedback from the community.

The LiveWell Kershaw movement began in October as a coalition of local leaders from Kershaw County and representatives from the University of South Carolina (USC).

KershawHealth Community Outreach and Wellness Manager Whitney Hinson said the public meetings helped to provide certain “themes” that the movement’s collaborators can consider moving forward. She said the availability of transportation was one of the key concerns listed among those who attended the meetings.

“Transportation is a big issue whether it’s getting to the grocery store or getting to the doctor’s office,” Hinson said. “Some people can’t find a ride or sometimes they can’t walk a certain distance.”

She noted that one of the detriments of a lack of extensive transportation options is that people tend to buy “junk food” instead of picking healthier options.

Dealing with a sour economy also tends to hamper an individual’s move towards eating healthier, she said.

“Sometimes healthier food can be a little more expensive. Therefore, people sometimes go for the cheaper option,” Hinson said.

She added that some individuals at the meetings felt the county lacked a certain level of senior-based activities and consequently, investing more in senior recreational activities could be a focal point.

In total, LiveWell Kershaw representatives held meetings at Doby’s Mill, Baron DeKalb, Jackson, Lugoff, and Midway elementary schools.

“We thought about who we had working with us and we knew we had the school district on board. We were also trying to make it as simple as possible,” Hinson said. “We also wanted spots that were spread throughout the county. With an elementary school every so many miles, we tried that in order to get good geographic locations.” 

She said people will also have the option of filling out a LiveWell Kershaw survey.

“That’s how the community can really help us right now. We are trying to get as much feedback for our county-wide health assessment,” Hinson said.

Individuals interested in completing a survey can visit www.livewellkershaw.org or stop by the KershawHealth Resource Center, located at 124 Battleship Road, Camden.

“Church groups have actually been coming in and picking up stacks of them,” Hinson said, referring to the paper copies of the surveys. “We’ll also be glad to come out and speak to different groups if they want to know more about LiveWell Kershaw.”

Hinson said different community and business leaders as well as local physicians will be interviewed to receive additional feedback.

“We want to know what people think. We don’t want to assume anything,” she said. “We want to do this the right way. We need citizens, government leaders, religious organizations, schools, and healthcare providers to get involved. We want to be sure we reach as many people as possible.”

USC, particularly the Arnold School of Public Health, will also continue to help in the collaboration.     

“They have so many great experts and provide so much knowledge,” Hinson said. “President (Harris) Pastides has been so supportive of using every resource. We have his support and we’re on his radar.”  

Hinson indicated that those connected to the initiative will continue to pursue the overall goal of “making the healthy choice, the easy choice.”  

“We’re not there yet. It’s going to take time as far as infrastructure, physical activity, creating sidewalk connectivity, things like that,” Hinson said.

For more information about LiveWell Kershaw, contact Hinson at 424-0461 or whinson@kershawhealth.org.

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