SCale Down Update – Fall 2017


The SCale Down Initiative continues to work collaboratively with over 100 stakeholders across the state of South Carolina to move the needle on obesity. This quarterly update contains information on upcoming events and recent data releases.

Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities

Don’t forget to register for the Leadership for Healthy Communities Summit (formerly the SC Obesity Summit)! The Summit will take place at the the Marriott in downtown Columbia October 23-24, 2017. The Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities is the only statewide conference that focuses on healthy eating and active living. Over the past 14 years, the Summit has grown in attendance as content specialists in obesity prevention, healthy eating and active living strategies meet with community partners who are working on local solutions. Participants who attend represent various sectors including health, education, faith, local government and nonprofits. Click here to learn more and register.

2nd Annual Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold Childhood Obesity Lecture to Feature Brian Saelens

The Arnold School of Public Health will host the Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold 2017 Childhood Obesity Lecture on Thursday, October 12, 2017 from 3:45 – 5 p.m. The theme for the lecture, which is free and open to the public, is “Reducing costs and improving efficacy for pediatric weight management? An alternative really family-based treatment approach.”

The seminar will take place in the Presidential Dining Room, located in the USC Alumni Center (900 Senate St, Columbia, S.C.). The lecture series is sponsored by the Arnold School’s Department of Exercise Science and the Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold Childhood Obesity Initiative, which is a part of the Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold Institute on Aging. Refreshments will be served before the program. Click here to learn more.

Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Release 2017 State of Obesity Report

Adult obesity rates are showing signs of leveling off nationally, according to the 14th annual State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). This year, adult obesity rates exceeded 35 percent in five states, 30 percent in 25 states and 25 percent in 46 states. In the past year, adult obesity rates increased in four states (Colorado, Minnesota, Washington and West Virginia), decreased in one state (Kansas), and remained stable in the rest. In this year’s report, South Carolina’s adult obesity is 32.3%, which ranks South Carolina as 12th in adult obesity in the nation. Last year, South Carolina ranked 13th with 31.7%; in 2015 32.1% (ranked 10th). This supports trends that have shown steadying levels in recent years. State-by-state adult obesity rates and a new policy web-based interactive, featuring more than 20 policies focused on preventing and reducing obesity organized by early childhood, schools and communities, can be found on the report website. Over the past 15 years, there has been significant progress to prevent obesity and stabilize obesity rates, especially among children. Strong state policies play a key role in improving access to healthy food and increasing physical activity which are essential for promoting a healthy weight. This feature tracks the status of each state’s efforts on more than two dozen policies aimed at preventing obesity and supporting health. Newly published information on childhood obesity trends is also available.

Children’s Health Assessment Survey

The Children’s Health Assessment Survey (CHAS), administered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC), is the first survey of its kind in South Carolina to measure the health characteristics of children ages 0 through 17. By collecting data on children, CHAS contributes to a seamless health data system for all South Carolina citizens from birth to old age. CHAS was first developed in the fall of 2011 and has been implemented annually since 2012. Conducted in both English and Spanish, the CHAS questionnaire is revised each year to meet the child health surveillance needs of South Carolina. Individuals are eligible for the CHAS survey if they are selected for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (more information here) and indicate that they have children under age 18 living in their home. Data from the 2016 CHAS is now available. Based on BMI of children ages 2-17, 7.66% are underweight; 52.29% are normal weight; 15.46% are overweight; and 25.58% are obese. As seen in the below figures, there has been no significant change in the prevalence of obesity in children ages 2-5 or ages 6-11 from 2012-2016. For both age groups, the prevalence of childhood obesity has consistently been higher than the Healthy People 2020 goals of 9.4% for 2-5 year olds and 15.7% for 6-11 year olds. CHAS will continue to monitor this trend over time, but it is important to note that this survey is not designed to detect the impact of community-level interventions. For more information, please contact Chelsea Lynes at or 803-898-1047.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Releases New Maps

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released 2016 state- and territory-specific data on adult obesity using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The 2016 maps show that the proportion of adults with obesity in the United States remains high. The South had the highest prevalence of obesity (32.0%), followed by the Midwest (31.4%), the Northeast (26.9%) and the West (26.0%).

In South Carolina, the prevalence of self-reported obesity from the BRFSS, 2014-2016 is as follows:

  • Non-Hispanic White Adults – 28.9%
  • Non-Hispanic Black Adults – 41.7%
  • Hispanic Adults – 28.2%

As always, thank you for your support of SCale Down and commitment to preventing obesity in South Carolina.

Page first published: October 2017
Page last updated: November 2017

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