Kershaw County, SC (WLTX) -- Kershaw County takes the first step in becoming the healthiest county in the state.
"We are a county that can come together and be behind this," said Joseph Bruce with LiveWell Kershaw.
Kershaw county officials say the time for change has come. LiveWell Kershaw had its first town hall meeting with over 50 residents in attendance. The long-term program is all about getting residents and the county itself healthy.
"It's safe bike paths, it is getting rid of food deserts-- Places where people literally live in this county and have absolutely no access to healthy food whatsoever," Bruce said.
Currently, Kershaw County ranks as the 10th healthiest in the state. And tonight health experts from USC's Arnold School of Public Health stressed the importance of exercise.
"We do have the obesity epidemic, it does exist. But the far more important problem is physical activity," said Dr. Steven Blair with USC.
"I was thinking obesity was the underlying cause of a lot of the health issues that he was talking about," said town hall attendee Annah Deal.
LiveWell Kershaw is still looking for a better understanding of the county's demographics. In surveys folks are asked to fess up. In everything from how often they exercise to what are the reasons they don't eat healthy.
"I think the part you can't measure is just the quality of life. It's just that people feel better," Bruce said.
The town hall is the first of many and LiveWell Kershaw organizers have great expectations.
"Some city, some county in the United States will do this. Will figure out how to bring everybody together and really start seeing those population health numbers move," Bruce said. "And there's absolutely no reason it can't be Kershaw County."
The county's full health assessment will be complete by April 2013.
LiveWell Kershaw's town hall schedule:
- Nov. 1 at 6 p.m.: Doby's Mill Elementary School
- Nov. 8 at 6 p.m.: Baron DeKalb Elementary School
- Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.: Jackson Elementary School
- Nov. 29 at 6 p.m.: Lugoff Elementary School
- Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.: Midway Elementary School