Local News

NC Pushes For Corporate, Community Fitness Initiatives

Posted January 12, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— North Carolina leaders want employers to help improve the state of our health, and they have launched a new initiative to encourage them.

AtSAS Institutein Cary, there is little problem getting many of the employees to exercise. The reason may be a 52,000-square-foot gym located right outside the office doors.

"One of the things we wanted to do was eliminate the excuses people had for not using a facility like this," says fitness center manager Jack Poll. "They first said 'It's not convenient.' Well, if it's two doors down, it's real convenient."

State leaders want other companies to follow SAS's lead by offering incentives for employees to get fit. Currently less than a third of all large companies in the state do.

The push is part of a program called Be Active North Carolina.

"Be Active North Carolina will benefit North Carolina by changing our environment, making it possible for us to be more physically active, lead healthier lives," says Kathy Thomas.

Statistics show North Carolinians needs that change. One in every three adults in the state is overweight.

Local leaders are also taking a community approach that includes expanding and adding greenways, as well as including bike trails in new development plans.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolinadonated $1 million to the program Thursday. It is estimated that a lack of physical activity costs the state $2.2 billion a year in healthcare.