Skip Navigation
search icon Open Search Field

News Release

Campus Health Series Promotes Dancing Off Pounds

 December 30, 2011 – With people packing on pounds over the holidays, a Dance into Health Winter Fitness Series in Southeast Raleigh is helping to get residents back into shape.

The Southeast Raleigh Assembly, Shaw University and the city of Raleigh have partnered to eliminate health disparities in underserved communities by establishing the Access Project. The project is focused on empowerment through access to consumer health information.

"The Access Project uses education, training and state-of-the-art online databases developed and constructed by the National Library of Medicine to provide access and education to people on every health-care issue imaginable," wrote Rita Linger, SERA president and CEO, in an email. "It is user-friendly and one of the most powerful resources (if not the most powerful resource) on consumer health information in the nation."

A grant from the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation, in collaboration with the National Library of Medicine, supports the project.

"The grant to Shaw University for dissemination to the collaborative partners was relatively small, however, our share is enabling us to reach more residents, provide more training opportunities to not only residents but also to health advocates who walk away from the training with the designation of a 'trainer,' " Linger said. "They then are taking what they have learned from our staff and volunteers into the wider community in an effort to provide more training to residents of Southeast Raleigh."

Southeast residents and health advocates are invited to attend an upcoming health session either Jan. 14 or Jan. 21 from noon to 2 p.m., on Shaw's campus at the Institute for Health, Social and Community Research Building. Attendees should be prepared to dance, since a Dance Into Health exercise class will be held to promote getting into shape.

"Residents are busy these days and have a lot to worry about with the downturn of the economy and may not want to come out to learn about health information, but what they have shown they are willing to do is come out and dance in a way that is fun and empowering yet provides rigorous exercise during the dance session," Linger said.

The SERA has been addressing obesity and cardiovascular disease over the past few years by providing Dancing in the Park, so this partnership builds on that mission.

"In large part, SERA, Inc.'s mission is to enhance the quality of life for the 75,000 residents in Southeast Raleigh. Part of that charter as I see it is to look at enhancing quality of life from a holistic perspective," Linger said.

"That is to say we not only look at equity and access to economics, jobs, safety, housing, transportation, education and self-esteem, but we also look to accomplish that goal by working to bring awareness to the importance of being well, and the role of health and wellness in being productive and living a long and prosperous life. When the body is not healthy, the person cannot fully function; and the ability to enhance one's quality of life on all fronts is diminished."

A 2011 national report shows that North Carolina has a combined obesity and overweight rate of 65.5 percent, a diabetes rate of 9.6 percent and a hypertension rate of 30 percent. Minorities and those with less education or who are low income continue to have the highest overall obesity rates. North Carolina's adult obesity rate for blacks of 42.4 percent was among 15 states where rates for blacks topped 40 percent.

To RSVP for a session, contact David Brown, community engagement manager, at (919) 747-8421, or by email at

Originally published on December 28, 2011 in the Triangle Tribune.

Promoting Healthy Living