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Impact Story

Eat Smart Move More South Carolina

Making the Healthy Choice an Easy Choice

The Let’s Go Initiative advances local-level solutions to creating healthier communities.

About the Organization

Established in 2007, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) is a leader in the state in addressing obesity and its associated risk factors in the state. Through focused work on advocacy, community action, youth engagement, and consumer awareness, ESMMSC advances community-led change to make the healthy choice the easy choice for every South Carolinian. There are 27 ESMMSC-affiliated coalitions throughout the state, reaching 31 counties and more than 90% of South Carolina’s population.

About the Grant

The Let’s Go Initiative started in 2009 in Colleton County and was expanded in 2015 to six other counties: Anderson, Barnwell, Hampton, Kershaw, Laurens and York. The project provides intensive support to local coalitions to assist them in making policy, systems, and environmental changes in their communities that increase access to physical activity and healthy eating opportunities.

Why it was Funded

The Foundation values work that addresses the complexities of improving health outcomes, and an individual's environment is one element that can have a large impact on their overall health. Community coalitions can lead efforts to make communities healthier and serve as a bridge between citizens and the decision-makers. These mobilized and coordinated groups can advance the ability to leverage human and financial capital and can increase the engagement of more citizens into improving local and community environments.

The six Let’s Go communities leveraged an additional $1.3 million to support projects addressing healthy eating and active living.

Project Results

Over the course of three years, the six Let’s Go communities made changes that had the following effects:

  • Almost 44,000 people now live within one mile of a park or path enhanced by a coalition
  • 25,000 SNAP recipients now have access to fresh produce at farmers’ markets

Ongoing Support

Through the first iteration of Let’s Go, ESMMSC learned that the involvement of a coordinator in local coalitions was the most effective approach to build coalition capacity to implement evidence-based healthy eating and active living strategies. They also learned that creating effective change does not always require large sums of money.

ESMMSC took their lessons learned and revamped Let’s Go in 2018 to expand the project statewide through targeted technical assistance and mini-grants made available to coalitions to support them in implementation of policy, systems, and environmental changes in their communities.