Perspectives Online

Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina releases Road Map to Health

North Carolinians who want to improve their health by enjoying outdoor activity will benefit from a new resource developed by Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina. The group has just released Eat Smart, Move More NC: Your Road Map to Health, a foldable state map illustrated with North Carolina sites and opportunities for physical activity and outdoor recreation.

The map, which doubles as a progress report on obesity in North Carolina, folds and fits in a car glove box like a regular street map. The map’s appeal to outdoor enthusiasts is that it highlights walking, hiking, biking and paddling trails throughout the state. The document also engages readers with the personal success stories of individuals who have been agents of change in their own communities -- making healthy improvements to work sites, schools and neighborhoods.

N.C. Cooperative Extension is one of 60 organizations that lead the Eat Smart, Move More NC (ESMM) movement. The shared vision among these partner organizations is a North Carolina where healthful eating and active living are the norm, rather than the exception.

Two years ago, ESMM released its five-year plan, North Carolina’s Plan to Prevent Overweight, Obesity and Related Chronic Diseases 2007-2012, which aims to establish state, local and organizational policies and to improve community environments. The road map is an innovative tool that updates the public on the progress of this plan and tells the stories of people whose lives were changed by it.

“Many people assume obesity is a problem that starts and stops with individuals and the lifestyle choices they make,” explains Dr. Carolyn Dunn, nutrition specialist with N.C. Cooperative Extension and ESMM chair. “The point of the road map is to show how we are influenced by the world around us – the rules, traditions and expectations of where we live and work or go to school. Oftentimes, the healthy choice is not the easy choice. Eat Smart, Move More North Carolina is trying to change that.”

Health experts have long maintained that many American neighborhoods lack safe places to walk or bike and that fast food and unhealthy snacks are the cheapest and most common items to eat. Road Map to Health shares success stories of North Carolinians joining forces to make their communities healthier places to live.

“Road Map could have been another report that sits on a shelf somewhere collecting dust,” says Maggie Sauer of the N.C. Medical Society Foundation and ESMM vice chair. “But we wanted to create something dynamic, educational /and /useful that people could keep with them for ideas on how to make healthy changes in their communities.”

In addition to success stories and the physical activity map, Road Map offers information on parks and recreation facilities, state parks and state farmers’ markets in North Carolina. These resources are supplemented by statistics on physical activity, healthy eating and obesity in North Carolina and an introduction to Eat Smart, Move More NC. To request a free copy of the road map, visit .

Eat Smart, Move More NC is a statewide program that promotes increased opportunities for healthy eating and physical activity wherever people live, learn, earn, play and pray. More information about the program and its partner organizations can be found at

--Natalie Hampton