Health Matters is a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funded project designed to strengthen community partnerships, enhance healthy food access, and provide leisure opportunities to increase physical activity in four of North Carolina’s most under-resourced, rural counties with obesity rates greater than 40%. Health Matters works through Cooperative Extension with these communities to build on their existing strengths, with leisure service interventions playing a critical role.

The project was recognized nationally due to their successful community engagement, sustainability of the project and innovative and practical evaluation methods. Moreover, the Health Matters program has enabled to continue connecting low-income families with access to healthy food and physical activity amenities in everyday leisure settings, such as schools, out-of-school programs, faith communities, and Parks and Recreation facilities.