Campaign targets obesity, diabetes

Originally posted by David McGee on Bristol Herald Courier

KINGSPORT, Tenn. – A new campaign is designed to promote better awareness about the dangers of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Officials from Wellmont Health System, Mountain States Health Alliance, the College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University and The Public Good Projects announced the “Live Sugarfreed” initiative. It urges people to drink water instead of sugary beverages and businesses and organizations to promote healthier beverage consumption, according to a written statement.

Wellmont welcomes this campaign because it aligns perfectly with our Live Well initiative which encourages people in our region to commit to important habits such as healthy diets and maintain proper cholesterol and blood sugar levels,” health system CEO Bart Hove said. “Our diabetes program has also worked collaboratively with our hospitals to provide helpful information to patients about healthy foods and portion sizes.”

The new campaign is supported by the two health care systems and Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

A Centers for Disease Control study of 18 states shows Tennessee has the second highest rate of consumption of sugary drinks, according to the statement.

In a separate Tri-Cities survey, adults age 18-45 reported drinking an average of 1,7 sugary drinks per day while one person in seven surveyed drank four or more sugary drinks per day.

“Obesity and diabetes represent a public health crisis,” said Tony Keck, senior vice president and chief development officer of MSHA. “We’re not going to solve that problem with medical care alone. It’s time to use all of the tools we have, including the power of the mass media, to address the unhealthy behaviors that are contributing to this problem.”