Overweight & Obesity Priority Area
3% reduction in childhood obesity
Spartanburg County subject matter experts have identified pediatric obesity as the #1 medical problem in the county. Spartanburg County’s 2009 preschool obesity rate was 11.5%, just above the state’s 11.4% rate.
What is being done?
The Childhood Obesity Taskforce and the Spartanburg County school districts work together to decrease overweight and obesity rates. Spartanburg County is the only county in the state to take a body mass index census of all students in the 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades. Each year’s reports are available here.
Is there an example of success?
The City of Spartanburg and Spartanburg school districts were the first in the state to embrace a best practice when joint use agreements were signed between Spartanburg School Districts 6 and 7 and the City Parks and Recreation Department to open up school playgrounds after hours for the community's use.
Spearheaded by Partners for Active Living, joint use agreements are in effect for Jesse Bobo and Woodland Heights elementary schools in District 6, and Cleveland Academy, Mary. H. Wright, EP Todd, Houston, Jesse Boyd, and Pine Street elementary schools, McCracken and Carver middle schools, and Spartanburg High School in District 7.
The goal of the joint use agreements is to make headway toward a long-term goal to provide access to a park or a playground for every family within .5 miles of home. Although there are numerous public parks within the City limits, use of school playgrounds supplement close-by access to parks in many areas of the City. Issues such as liability and distribution of ongoing work—including maintenance, programming, and opening and closing of the playgrounds—were details worked out before the agreements went into effect in April 2013.
Joint use agreements are documented as successful tools in reducing childhood obesity, although there are many other factors involved. Measurements of overweight and obese children in Spartanburg County recently released in the 2014 Body Mass Index (BMI) Report, which tracked first, third, and fifth grade students over four years (2011-2014), show an overall decrease followed by a plateau for first grade students, an overall decrease followed by a smaller increase for third grade students, and an overall significant decrease for fifth grade students. The reports are available on our Outside Reports of Interest page and here.