Rx for Exercise: For a Healthier Eastern Wake County
AHA and its partners in Eastern Wake County are launching a pilot project this fall with the help of seven physician practices in Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon. They will dispense physical activity prescriptions to their patients who are not getting the recommended amount of physical activity.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last month that obesity rates declined slightly in 19 states, there was no change in North Carolina. With the “Exercise as Medicine” project, AHA seeks to raise awareness in the Eastern Wake communities about how much physical activity adults and children should have each day, as well as information on where residents can be active affordably.
Prescriptions & Maps
Physicians will dispense prescriptions for 60 minutes per day of physical activity for children and 30 minutes per day of physical activity for adults, along with a brochure featuring easy-to-read maps of places Knightdale, Wendell and Zebulon where people can be active. The maps are available in English and Spanish online and in print at the Parks and Recreation Departments and Chambers of Commerce in the three communities.
“Here in Knightdale, we’re about to celebrate the opening of Knightdale Station Park, which will include a playground, walking and running trails, a dog park and several multi-purpose fields in the first phase of the park,” said Mayor Russell Killen. “We’re pleased to provide these amenities to complement all the other opportunities in the region for people to be healthy and active. We are committed to providing our citizens with a range of ways to be active to meet a range of needs and interests.”
Parks and Recreation Department and other municipal staff in each of the three Eastern Wake Communities, as well as other community and county representatives, have been active in AHA’s young Eastern Wake AHA Work Group and the development of this project.
Overweight and obesity in Wake County is a serious health issue. More than 59 percent of adults in Wake are overweight or obese, as well as a third of two- to four-year olds, 43 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds, and 49 percent of 12- to 18-year-olds (according to 2009 and 2010 data).
Physicians are seeing the evidence of these obesity statistics in their offices regularly. By participating in the Exercise as Medicine project in Eastern Wake, physicians will help educate patients about how much physical activity they need, and they will also provide them with a valuable tool in the map to show them where they can be active. AHA will work with the physicians and partners to evaluate the project over the course of the next year.