Since the implementation of the Healthy NC 2020 improvement plan in 2010, a recent progress report from the North Carolina Division of Public Health showed the state's health has actually declined.
North Carolina identified 13 major health focus areas and established 41 health objectives and targets to meet by the year 2020. One goal was to increase the number of adults consuming one or more fruit per day from the baseline value of 59.2 percent. The state is now at 56.7 percent, and the goal is 69.7 percent.
“We had measurable targets, and we are nowhere close to meeting them,” said Luis Toledo, a policy analyst at the NC Justice Center who released a report on the program. “This affects everyone across the board regardless of race, religion, gender and what corner of the state they live in."
Toledo said the state is not tackling these goals in a way that measures progress, and there’s a lack of funding in many of these areas.
“We need people in the state to be healthy, to live productive lives and to contribute to our society and economy,” Toledo said.
Analysis of new data in the report shows North Carolina has not made any progress on two of its physical and nutrition health objectives since 2008.
While the state had these goals, funding for public health initiatives has decreased by 29 percent since 2008, Toledo said.
“At the same time that we have cut public health funding, our population has grown by 11 percent — that’s almost a million people,” Toledo said.
While lawmakers are dealing with this issue at a statewide level, student groups at UNC have worked to mitigate health issues they see on campus.