Raleigh, N.C. — "A Healthier NC," a new state wellness initiative, is challenging 1 million North Carolinians to exercise 15 million hours and lose 10 million pounds, or 10 pounds per person.
State leaders announced the campaign Thursday and unveiled a website, ahealthiernc.com, where residents can sign up for free to start tracking their progress.
Those who register will get a personal online health journal that will allow them to:
- Track physical activity and weight loss
- Journal food and caloric intake
- Calculate body mass index
- Monitor other personal health characteristics
The site also allows people to form or join in groups, such as businesses, schools, churches and community groups. Users can share their progress with an accountability partner, such as a health care professional, co-worker or friend. They will also receive extensive resources on nutrition, meal-planning, exercise and health care access options, plus details on upcoming exercise- and health-related events around the state.
The campaign has four goals:
- Educate people about what healthy means
- Encourage people to understand their personal responsibility in being healthy
- Promote a greater understanding of what smart access to health care is
- Issue a challenge to North Carolinians to become healthier
"Not everyone will choose to live a healthier life, but every North Carolinian should have the opportunity to live a healthier life," said state Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. "This is important for this economy."
More than 40 percent of students in North Carolina's 2,500 public schools are overweight or obese, according to State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.
"We know that fit and healthy children learn better," she said. "We must continue to focus on the health of our children."
Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos said in a statement that the campaign's goal "is to create a healthier North Carolina by empowering citizens."