About Us

What is LUC?
Helping Charlestonians live a healthy lifestyle!

Lighten Up Charleston is a City of Charleston initiative to build a culture of health and wellness in our city by making the healthy choice the easy choice through a collaborative community effort. We work together as a community to improve health outcomes, reduce health inequities, and strive to implement policies and programs that give all citizens the opportunity to reach and enjoy optimal health.

There are great resources right here in Charleston to make this possible.  The Lighten Up Charleston website has the mission of bringing together local resources to help the residents of the Charleston area with awareness and engagement through encouraging healthy eating and active living where we live, eat, work, learn, and play together.

Why Focus on Healthy Eating and Active Living?

Approximately 66% of adults in the United States are overweight, with almost 30% categorized as obese. Of particular concern is the percentage of children and adolescents who are obese. The CDC estimates that 1 out of 3 children are overweight or obese, with 17% categorized as obese. Southern states tend to see a greater percentage of overweight or obese adults than other states throughout the nation.

More than 67% of SC adults are overweight or obese(SC BRFSS). Alarmingly, 66% of Berkeley county adults are either overweight or obese (25% report no exercise and 80% report eating few fruits and vegetables) as are 60% of Charleston County adults (21% report no exercise and 74% report eating few fruits and vegetables). Just over 70% of Dorchester County adults are either overweight or obese (21% report no exercise and 74% report eating few fruits and vegetables) (SC BRFSS).

Moreover, data collected in 2017 through the CDC-administered Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) show that in South Carolina, nearly 30% of high-school students were either overweight or obese and, while valid childhood obesity are not systematically collected for middle- or elementary-school-aged youth, case report and case series data suggest that rates are equally high for younger children, if not higher. Overweight and obesity are the result of an imbalance between energy input (caloric intake) and energy output (caloric expenditure); however this is a complex relationship and many factors, particularly those within obesogenic environments, interact to markedly increase overweight and obesity risk as well as co-morbid diseases and conditions including heart diseases and stroke.

The South Carolina Department of Health & Environment Control reports show that of South Carolina high school students: (Youth Risk Behavior Survey, YRBS, 2017)

  • 16.5% are overweight
  • 16.5% are obese
  • 17.2% ate the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day
  • 78.3% do not meet current physical activity recommendations

South Carolina’s youngest children are also impacted. Over 25% of low income children ages two through five are overweight or obese.

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John J. Tecklenburg, Mayor of Charleston, SC

A Message From our Mayor

Welcome to Lighten Up Charleston!

The health of each of our residents is essential to the quality of life of our city and region. As Augusten Burroughs once said, “When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.”

I want to congratulate you on taking the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. Whether you’re on this website because you want to lose weight, find a group to exercise with or learn healthy recipes, you will find many community resources to help you reach your goal. Together, we can Lighten Up!

John J. Tecklenburg, Mayor