Health department shines light on fitness

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Beaufort County Health Department is hoping to make fitness a family affair.

On Sept. 23, the department will host its second-annual 5K glow run/walk, “Shine a Light on Family Fitness.” The event is open to all ages.

JaNell Lewis, human services planner and preparedness coordinator at BCHD, said organizers were inspired to use a family fitness theme because September is National Family Fitness Month.

Last year’s theme centered on diabetes, so the department also wanted to stay in the same vein, focusing on ways to combat the county’s high rate of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, Lewis said.

“We still wanted to focus on … a topic that was important to the county and relevant,” she said. “More people want to learn more about it.”

In the 2016 State of the County Health Report, fighting chronic diseases was listed as the No. 1 priority, followed by cancer and access to care. Weight management, nutrition and obesity took the fourth spot.

Mortality rates due to chronic disease are decreasing, but these rates tend to remain higher than the state’s, according to the report. Obesity rates in Beaufort County were also dropping in 2009 and 2010, but starting in 2011, they began to increase, the report shows.

Lewis said “Shine a Light on Family Fitness” is not a fundraiser, but rather a way to raise awareness for more healthful living. It also encourages residents to take control of their health and fight back against the issues outlined in the SOTCH Report.

“We hope to kind of encourage, but also to inspire families to get out and do things together,” Lewis said. “If they are doing things together, it’s more likely, as a family and as a whole, that they’re going to live a healthier lifestyle.”

The 5K glow run/walk stretches 3.1 miles, starting at the health department, winding through the Smallwood area and then ending back at the department, according to Lewis.

Registration is $15 and covers the cost of hosting the race and tracking the top finishers. A T-shirt is included for those who register by Sept. 8. Awards will be given to the top-three overall male and female winners, as well as the top-two male and female runners in their respective age groups. On race day, registration begins at 5:30 p.m., and the race is slated for 7 p.m.

For more information, or to sign up, visit, or view Beaufort County Health Department’s Facebook page.