Health department dives into new initiative

Published 12:04 pm Monday, June 19, 2017

After launching its own branch of the state’s Faithful Families program, the Beaufort County Health Department is now looking to take it one step further.

Starting this month, the health department will kick off Healthy Living for a Lifetime, a program to teach residents how to eat better and exercise for the long term.

Participants are required to complete the Faithful Families program first, according to BCHD health educator Kim Matthews. That ongoing program enables health department employees to visit local churches and teach congregants some basic tips for healthy living.

“We’re still talking about healthy eating, but we’re going a little bit more in depth,” Matthews said of Healthy Living for a Lifetime. “We’ve created a curriculum, kind of like a second part to our Faithful Families curriculum.”

The first participants in Healthy Living are members of St. John Church of Christ in Washington.

“St. John has already gone through Faithful Families, and they have a really robust healthy living community,” Matthews said.

She said churches that participated in Faithful Families are welcome to sign up for the new program, and newcomers are always welcome to join Faithful Families. Four churches and one community center have joined so far.

The goal is to make sure residents have the tools they need to eat better, exercise more and live healthful lives, according to Matthews. These programs are also meant to provide a more personalized approach to getting healthy and encourage people who aren’t sure where to start, she added.

“People don’t really know how to eat right and exercise,” Matthews said. “People really tend to get overwhelmed.”

She said there is no set start date, as each group can adjust the schedule to meet its particular needs, but the classes will meet once a week for four weeks.

“The benefit is education, just more education, more knowledge,” Matthews said. “I think it’s going to be a great experience.”

For more information, contact health educator Kim Matthews at 252-940-6521.