Resources increase outlook for community health

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Recently, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension offices in Beaufort and Hyde counties have added a new resource to its offerings to the community — a person knowledgeable about foods and nutrition.

Renee Harvey, the Extension’s new Family and Consumer Science Agent, has an extensive background in health, particularly foods and nutrition. This could be a huge game-changer for the area given the fact that, statistically, obesity rates and diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes and others are so prevalent.

The health statistics are based on several factors: the rural area is traditionally used to fried foods and high-salt intake; a lack of exercise is prevalent amongst most residents; there are limited resources related to health and nutritional education, including how to cook healthy meals; the two counties are also considered low-income and economically underserved, which makes it difficult for many families to afford healthy foods; and areas such as Aurora are considered a food desert, leaving limited options for healthy produce and meats, which are vital to a balanced, healthy diet.

The new Extension agent is a great resource for any questions residents may have about how to prepare healthy meals, food safety, nutrition and other topics. One only has to pick up the phone and call to get the information and guidance needed to live a healthier lifestyle.

Another great resource to increase the community’s health outlook is Beaufort County Community College’s Beau-Fitt program, one that is open to the community. The initiative includes a 1-mile walking trail, complete with outdoor exercising equipment that provides the opportunity for a full-body workout, as well as cardiovascular conditioning. The program’s website also provides a guide for healthy eating and formulating meal plans, based on one’s height, weight, sex, age and amount of physical activity to increase health and fitness.

These are just two resources available in the community and are completely free and open to the public.

Between advisement on foods and nutrition and BCCC’s available exercising program, the community should, in the long run, increase the outlook for community health.