Lighten Up Charleston

TheFatGuy is proud to be a Lighten Up Legend! 

About Lighten Up Charleston!

Let’s get healthy! Our vision is for Charleston to become the healthiest city in the Southeast and it all begins with YOU!  We have the best resources right here in Charleston to make this happen. Together with local hospitals, schools and colleges, businesses, health agencies, physicians, and community leaders, we have created the Lighten UP Charleston website with a weight loss tracker to help us reach our challenge weight loss goal of 100,000 pounds in our community!

This website is designed to help you measure your successes focusing on five principles:

  • Fruits and Vegetables Eat 5 or more servings per day
  • Get Moving Increase the level of physical activity each day
  • Portion Control Manage portion sizes, bigger is not always better
  • Beverage Consumption Replace sugary beverages with healthy drinks
  • Keep Track – monitor your weight, activity, and intake

The website provides links to information on ways to lose weight (fitness programs, etc.), a locator for facilities and programs nearby and opportunities for the community to share our stories.  Included is a community toolbox resource center that provides information on healthy eating and physical activity, community resources, programs, charts, BMI calculators, community links to health and wellness connections, and additional items that assist an individual with the needed support to run a self-sustained weight loss program.

Thank you for joining this initiative and joining us in our efforts to make Charleston the healthiest city in the Southeast!

Why Charleston?

Approximately 66% of adults in the United States are overweight, with almost 30% categorized as obese. Of particular concern is the percentage of children and adolescents who are obese. The CDC estimates that 1 out of 3 children are overweight or obese, with 17% categorized as obese. Southern states tend to see a greater percentage of overweight or obese adults than other states throughout the nation. More than 65% of SC adults are overweight or obese(SC BRFSS).  Alarmingly, 60% of Berkeley county adults are either overweight or obese (25% report no exercise and 80% report eating few fruits and vegetables) as are 60% of Charleston County adults (21% report no exercise and 74% report eating few fruits and vegetables).  Just over 70% of Dorchester County adults are either overweight or obese (21% report no exercise and 74% report eating few fruits and vegetables) (SC BRFSS). 

Moreover, data collected in 2011 through the CDC-administered Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) show that in South Carolina, nearly 30% of high-school students were either overweight or obese and, while valid childhood obesity are not systematically collected for middle- or elementary-school-aged youth, case report and case series data suggest that rates are equally high for younger children, if not higher.  Overweight and obesity are the result of an imbalance between energy input (caloric intake) and energy output (caloric expenditure); however this is a complex relationship and many factors, particularly those within obesogenic environments, interact to markedly increase overweight and obesity risk as well as co-morbid diseases and conditions including heart diseases and stroke.

A recent MUSC Lean Team study found that 43% of student participants in the Charleston County School District were either overweight or obese.  Furthermore, 67% of adults and 70% of teachers enrolled in the study were also found to be overweight or obese – a notable finding, as children depend on parents and teachers to be role models.

The South Carolina Department of Health & Environment Control reports show that of South Carolina high school students: (Youth Risk Behavior Survey, YRBS, 2007)

  • 17.1% are overweight
  • 14.4% are obese
  • 17% ate the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day
  • 70% do not meet current physical activity recommendations.

South Carolina’s youngest children are also impacted. Over 25% of low income children ages two through five are overweight or obese.

What is Obesity?

A person’s height and weight can be used to calculate their body mass index (BMI). For most individuals, BMI reflects the amount of body fat a person has and is the current standard for determining if someone is overweight or obese. An individual is considered overweight if their BMI is greater than or equal to 25 or obese if their BMI is greater than or equal to 30.  Calculate your BMI

Unfortunately, overweight or obese individuals have an increased risk for several serious health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, Type II diabetes, and some types of cancer. Obesity also has a negative impact on an individual’s overall quality of life. Sadly, obesity is the leading contributor to illness or premature death.

For more info, please go to Get Heathly FAQ’s.