DHEC Director Supports SCMA Childhood Obesity Efforts

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

At a July 2012 DHEC Board Meeting, Director Catherine Templeton announced her determination to concentrate on a healthcare epidemic that is affecting the lives of many South Carolinians--- obesity. When Dr. Vincent Degenhart, a Columbia anesthesiologist and chairman of the SCMA’s Childhood Obesity Taskforce, got word of this, he immediately invited Director Templeton to join in the SCMA’s fight.

“She emailed me back immediately to show her support and enthusiastically asked when the next meeting was and said that she would be there,” explained Dr. Degenhart to the State Newspaper.

Dr. Degenhart, also a past SCMA Board Member, became inspired at an SCMA Board Meeting in 2010 when former DHHS Director Robert Kerr spoke on the widespread obesity epidemic in South Carolina. Since then, Dr. Degenhart has been instrumental in the creation of the Childhood Obesity Taskforce and soliciting South Carolina’s health care leaders in his fight, with its newest member now including Director Templeton.

Like Dr. Degenhart, Director Templeton also shares the same passion for stopping obesity dead in its tracks. As told by the State Newspaper, “It’s obesity, it’s obesity, it’s obesity, everything is fed by it,” Director Templeton said. “We need to concentrate on what kills the most South Carolinians, what makes the most South Carolinians sick, and what would, if prevented, save the state the most money.”

Degenhart agrees one hundred percent with Director Templeton’s belief that efforts to study and fight obesity need to begin immediately, much of which is already underway through the Taskforce’s efforts. To date, numerous meetings have been held where South Carolina’s top healthcare leaders have come together to collaborate on how we can continue tackling this epidemic.  

One main mission that the Taskforce continues to study is concentrating efforts in our state’s schools. Programs such as Doc-Adopt, in addition to tools developed by another group called The Lean Team, have proven having physicians, dieticians, and health educators in our schools to be effective.

The determination and words shared by Director Templeton are the exact sentiments of the Taskfore and having the support of the Department of Health and Environmental Control and Director Templeton will be instrumental as the Taskforce moves forward.

If you are interested in getting involved in the efforts of the SCMA Childhood Obesity Taskforce, please contact Dr. Vincent Degenhart by email at info@scmedical.org.

This article is a summary from a news story that appeared in The State Newspaper on Sunday, July 29. To read the full story, please visit: http://www.thestate.com/2012/07/29/2372885/new-dhec-chief-pledges-to-zero.html

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