The area of Virginia that borders North Carolina from Patrick to Halifax counties has an almost 50 percent higher rate of diabetes than the rest of the country, a 5 percent higher rate of adult obesity, and 17 percent of the area’s residents live below the federal poverty line. One in four do not have health insurance. Local data also show childhood obesity is three times higher than state averages.

But for those families who participated in a recent Virginia Tech-led health initiative called the iChoose program, the prognosis for a healthier future is bright.

iChoose - Virginia Tech from VirginiaTech on Vimeo.

The iChoose program is a jointly developed health initiative that brings together the capacity and resources of local health care and community partners in Danville, as well as pulls research expertise from Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to help families be happy, eat healthy, and control their body weight.

“America is in the midst of an obesity crisis and we hope that this model of academic partners such as Virginia Tech teaming up with community organizations can be used to find solutions to solve the obesity problems in the Danville region and eventually the obesity epidemic around the U.S.,” Associate Professor of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise Jamie Zoellner said.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 3,100 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.

Written by Amy Loeffler

Share this story