SC Obesity Prevention Summit

Our partners and friends at Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) host an annual conference, called the Obesity Prevention Summit, which covers many different topics relating to obesity prevention, healthy eating, and promotion of physical activity. This year’s event took place yesterday, April 6, in Columbia and was attended by nearly 300 individuals from all over the state representing diverse professions and interests.

In 2009, ESMMSC invited us to speak on a panel about Complete Streets in South Carolina. We returned to the conference this year to organize and moderate a panel on ‘Bicycling, Walking and Active Living’. The topic was broad and the audiences’ backgrounds were varied, but our speakers did a tremendous job at delivering informative content and real-life examples to allow community members to become more engaged in the planning process that shapes active living in their towns.

PCC’s Director opened the session with a brief primer on the connections between public health and biking/ walking. Jean Crowther, a Planning Assistant with Alta Planning & Design, then provided insight given her six + years of experience as an advocate for outdoor recreation and active lifestyles. She spoke about transportation planning and connections to active living, and discussed the many players involved in active living campaigns on the community level.

From the public sector, Lisa Bollinger with Spartanburg Area Transportation Study Metropolitan Planning Organization spoke about regional planning and the role of players at the state and regional level. Lisa explained federal funding sources for bike/ped projects, and emphasized the importance of partnering for such improvements to be successful. Both Lisa and Jean shared highlights that many communities around the state are implementing to improve community health and quality of life.

A big thanks to our speakers for being so accommodating and flexible given last minute changes to the session. More biking and walking opportunities make sense from a public health perspective, and we all look forward to promoting these values in our continued work throughout South Carolina.

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