Mecklenburg County, NC
The Village HeartBeat program might feature fun activities such as Hula-Hoops and hopscotch, but a sign on the program’s banner demonstrates the seriousness of its mission: “We are dying too soon because we live here.”
Churches, community centers, local officials and community members are teaming up to help Village HeartBEAT (Building Education and Accountability Together) reduce the incidence of heart disease and obesity.
in the Program
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The program began in 2013 when the health department found an alarming discrepancy: Nonwhites in Mecklenburg County were about one-and-a-half times more likely to report no physical activity, as well as to report being obese.
Local teams engage in friendly competitions, weighing in to earn points, with all participants receiving a certificate of completion and other rewards. Along with traditional fitness classes, the program offers activities for all fitness levels, such as chair aerobics and group walks.
With more than 20 churches now participating, the program’s goal is to reach 24,000 congregation members and 6,000 community residents.
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