In the Gazette: Inspiring heart health in the ‘stroke belt’

Alice Ammerman, PhD, a professor of nutrition in public health and director of Carolina’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, reached out to county health officials along with her colleagues and built a project that helps encourage healthy living in Lenoir County.

In the Gazette: Inspiring heart health in the ‘stroke belt’ click to enlarge Alice Ammerman, PhD

Lenoir County is tucked into the eastern part of the state, about 75 miles east of Raleigh, with a population of around 57,000. If you’re headed to the coast, you’re likely to pass through.

“We welcome everybody with open arms,” said Laura Lee Sylvester, the president of the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce. “That’s what makes us stand out – we really take care of each other, no matter who you are or where you live.”

The tight-knit community is also facing a health crisis. Located in what is recognized as the “stroke belt,” its residents experience significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke and obesity rates compared to other parts of the state and nation.

Alice Ammerman, a professor of nutrition in public health and director of Carolina’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP), took notice. She and her colleagues reached out to county health officials to learn more about the county’s specific needs and the initiatives already in place, and for nearly five years now, this community has been the focus of Heart Healthy Lenoir.

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