With a unique blend of talent and resources, the National Park Service, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation are focusing on a national epidemic – childhood obesity.
A grant of $200,000 over two years will pilot a multi-dimensional program expected to eventually span the entire length of the 469 mile long Blue Ridge Parkway.
The objective is to engage children and their families in activities that increase physical activity, improve nutritional choices, and increase awareness of the Blue Ridge Parkway as a recreational resource. The program will pilot initially in the Asheville, spearheaded by Olson Huff, M.D., who has a distinguished career in children’s health. He also co-chairs the Task Force on Obesity and Nutrition of the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission. Huff, the NPS, and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation have convened a regional advisory board to maximize the program’s effectiveness with Dr. Huff serving as board chairman.
North Carolina’s federal court victory requiring the TVA to reduce emissions from its dirtiest coal plants is not only good for folks in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s an important precedent that could force Congress and federal regulators to address the issue of pollution that crosses state lines.
“This certainly is a groundbreaking case and one that is important for the health and economy for our state,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said. “Many people will also view this as a positive step nationally because it holds a public utility accountable for its pollution.”
The case is a big victory for North Carolina, and nowhere bigger than here in the mountains. We have said many times in these columns that clean air is critical not only to our physical health; it’s crucial to our economic health.