Pitt County, North Carolina
“AS WE MOVE FORWARD WITH EACH OF OUR OBJECTIVES, I SEE THAT WE CAN BE AN EVEN BIGGER AGENT FOR CHANGE THAN WE HAD ORIGINALLY ANTICIPATED.”
— Alice F. Keene, Past Director, Pitt County Community Schools and Recreation
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“WHAT A TREAT – COOKED UP A STIR-FRY TODAY USING VEGGIES SOLELY FROM MY COMMUNITY GARDEN PLUS DONATIONS FROM FELLOW GARDENERS!”
— Joanne, Pitt County resident
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is an initiative designed to make healthy living easier by promoting environmental changes at the local level. Through funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, a total of 50 communities are working to prevent obesity and tobacco use—the two leading preventable causes of death and disability.
Pitt County, North Carolina, is tackling obesity throughout the community, which is home to 168,148 residents. Overall, 72.7% of adults in Pitt County are overweight or obese, and more than one in three children in Pitt County is overweight or obese.
Poor diet and physical inactivity contribute to the obesity problem. In Pitt County, only 16.8% of adults meet the Federal government's guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption, which is lower than the national rate of 23.4%. More than 25% of Pitt County adults report eating fast food four or more times per week. Additionally, only 42% of Pitt County adults reported that they met the recommended 30 minutes or more of physical activity at least five days a week, and 20.5% of adults in the county reported no physical activity in the last 30 days. In addition to obesity-prevention efforts aimed at Pitt County's entire population, certain initiatives will target low-income populations and neighborhoods with limited access to healthy options.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy living is not possible. With the support of the CPPW initiative, Pitt County has implemented a variety of changes throughout the community to make healthy living easier.
To decrease the prevalence of obesity, Pitt County:
- Increased the availability and affordability of healthy foods and beverages in convenience stores, and established the first pilot for the Healthy Corner Store initiative. This program supports efforts to increase the availability and sale of healthy, fresh, affordable foods through small-scale stores in underserved communities.
- Established the Making Pitt Fit community garden through collaboration with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. This project not only enables residents to grow their own produce, but also encourages them to increase their physical activity levels by working in the garden. Plans are underway for creating a second community garden in another area of the county.
- Recruited 18 afterschool program sites to participate in the Move More After-School Standards for Physical Activity. These sites have committed to incorporating at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity into their programs.
- Established two new farmers' markets to increase the availability of fresh, local produce.
- Incorporated a new community health section into Pitt County's land-use plan to ensure the community's design facilitates healthy living. This plan is anticipated to affect more than 38,000 Pitt County residents.
(The list above is a sample of all activities completed by the community.)
Pitt County is increasing community members' access to fresh fruit and vegetables. Residents of Pitt County are now able to take a community bus when they need a ride to the local farmers' market. The Saturday-only bus stop is offered by Greenville Area Transit.
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors, who have the combined resources and capacity to make healthy living easier. Members of Pitt County leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations:
- East Carolina University
- Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce
- NC Cooperative Extension, Pitt County Center
- Pitt County Board of Health
- Pitt County Government
- Pitt County Memorial Hospital
- Pitt County Schools
- Pitt Partners for Health
- Town of Ayden
- Town of Winterville
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