Community Leader: Liz Duda, Tega Cay Resident

Tega Cay, SC (Aug. 11, 2017) Through the years, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) has worked with exceptional individuals who understand local challenges facing their communities, and have the passion and the vision to create opportunities where people can make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, play and pray. ESMMSC is recognizing these individuals, who have been nominated by their peers and colleagues, to showcase their commitment to making the healthy choice, the easy choice.

Liz Duda is an active community member striving for a healthier lifestyle for elementary school kids in York County. When Liz realized how often sweet treats are given to kids during daily activities, from classroom rewards to after-sports snacks, she knew she wanted to make an impactful difference to help teachers, parents, and students realize how much sugar kids were getting. One accomplishment during her time leading the PTO Health and Wellness Committee was creating sugar boards to display outside the school cafeteria to help people see the amount of sugar in foods they were consuming.

“People often don’t realize how much sugar kids get in a day. A child could get candy from the classroom “treasure box,” a classmate’s birthday cupcake at lunch, a sports drink, and mini donuts after a team sport…and what if the parents had planned to celebrate a family birthday at home that night with cake?” says Liz. “I want to help educate parents, faculty and other role models on healthy snacks, or to leave the snack-giving to the family, and change our society’s sugar-reward system. I want people to understand the amount of sugar being given from different people than a child’s own parents.”

Liz also promotes physical activity and brought Walk and Bike to School Days through the South Carolina Safe Routes to School program to her kids’ elementary school. She got huge community involvement on these designated days, including police officers, firefighters, and even the mayor and other volunteers to greet and congratulate cyclists and walkers in parks along the routes and at the school.

While Liz faces struggles in making change within her community, she never stops trying to make an impact and is grateful for the network of like-minded people she has met. She started the group Tega Cay Healthy Kids, and took the role of Communications Chair for Eat Smart, Move More York County. She likes to take a positive approach to her message and hopes to create more awareness about foods that are being endorsed to these young students.