FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C - The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is partnering with the Alzheimer's Association South Carolina Chapter, The American Heart Association and Eat Smart Move More South Carolina to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease and brain health.
DHEC and its partners will collaborate on a campaign that encourages people to Take Brain Health to Heart. A key element of the effort is a pledge - which can be found at www.scdhec.gov/brainhealthpledge - that encourages residents to keep their body, heart and brain healthy. The campaign is designed to educate and mobilize South Carolinians to protect their brain health by being more active, eating better and taking other steps. Research has shown that smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes may contribute to cognitive decline. It has also found that unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity and brain injury may affect the health of the brain.
This is an important message in South Carolina, whose population is getting older. While Alzheimer's and dementia are not a normal part of aging, getting older is the greatest risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. According to the Alzheimer's Association's 2016 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report, 84,000 people over the age of 65 are reported to be living with Alzheimer's disease in South Carolina. By 2025, that number is expected to grow to 120,000, according to the SC Alzheimer's disease registry report. South Carolina has one of the fastest-aging adult populations in the country, ranking in the top 10. That population is expected to increase to 1.1 million by 2029, resulting in one in five South Carolinians being over age 65.
South Carolina is one of seven states to receive funding to reduce stigma, promote early diagnosis and address risk reduction factors associated with cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The effort is funded by a collaborative that includes the Alzheimer's Association, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over the next few months, DHEC, the Alzheimer's Association, the American Heart Association and Eat Smart Move More will jointly focus on messaging regarding heart and brain health and cognitive decline.
The campaign will feature a centralized DHEC Brain Health webpage. Each partner organization will have a link to the page, which will include health education materials, social media messages and a call to action in the form of a pledge about healthy lifestyle changes. People who visit the page and take the pledge will be entered into a monthly drawing for a Fitbit, beginning this month and ending June 30. Please visit the webpage at www.scdhec.gov/brainhealth and take the pledge.
DHEC Media Relations