The Davidson County Health Department and the North Carolina Alliance for Health sponsored a press conference in Lexington, North Carolina, on April 19, 2017 to highlight the effect a lack of access to healthy foods is having on residents of Lexington. This increased effort was announced after the NCAH revealed that large pockets of the Lexington area are without easy access to healthy food options. The pockets, often called food deserts, include areas of low income where any healthy foods that are available are considered unaffordable. One program the NCAH supports and the health department has been implementing is the Healthy Corner Store Initiative. Through this initiative, at-risk communities are targeted to provide more fruits and vegetables in corner stores and gas stations, which are by and large more accessible for many than grocery stores.
The Health Department partnered with the Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina A&T University to bring the Speedway to Healthy exhibit to Davidson County. Children walk through the nutritional display and learn why it is important to eat healthy and how the body uses nutrients. There are 11 “pit stops” where the children spent 5 minutes at each one learning the importance of healthy eating for that body system/organ. We invited all 4th graders in the county, and 1,621 participated. As a follow up, the Health Department provided goodie bags containing toothbrush/toothpaste kits, water bottles, and the Health Department Services brochure. Read more about the Speedway to Healthy exhibit.
Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church recently built a disc golf course for public use. Located in Thomasville, N.C., this is a 9-hole course open during daylight hours. It is located in conjunction with a walking trail, to encourage additional physical activity.
The City of Lexington recently overhauled several of its parks and built a splash pad at Washington Park.
Location: Davidson County, North Carolina, population 164,622
The Problem: Adults are consuming less than five servings of fruit and vegetables each day and are reporting low levels of physical activity.
Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Approach: The Davidson County Healthy Communities Program will address healthy eating and physical activity. A project coordinator will be hired to oversee the project, seek support and leverage resources from other community partners and coordinate all aspects of the project. They will also implement strategies based on successful local policy, environmental and system initiatives to support the community’s transformation through encouraging convenience stores and vendors to sell produce, increasing the number of venues using locally grown healthy food, supporting Active Routes to School, recruiting companies to adopt breastfeeding policies and improving the number of restaurants that implement menu labeling.