Healthy Charlotte topic of chamber

Local business leaders are trying to be more mindful of what impact they have on the health of their employees and the county.

Charlotte’s health and the outlook of the community were among the topics at a recent SouthPark chapter of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Michael Tarwater, chief executive officer of Carolinas HealthCare System, spoke about healthy partnerships, lifestyle choices and business climate and how they impact the community, invoking the chamber’s theme for 2014 of Healthy Charlotte.

Tarwater touched on a number of health topics at a time when local businesses are waiting to see what impact the nation’s Affordable Care Act will have on their bottom line. The CHS executive also discussed the difference between the country’s past and current health-care system and how it differs from what other countries are

“It is a ‘fix it’ system,” said Cindy Barnes, chair member of the chamber and realtor at Allen Tate Realtors, speaking about the current system. “The public has expectations that when someone gets a disease a doctor will fix it through medication…”

David MacVaugh, health coach and owner of, echoed Barnes’ thoughts on the public’s expectations of the health-care system and the need for accountability.

“Michael got my attention when he spoke about our society taking personal responsibility for their own health,” MacVaugh said. “The U.S. leads the world in obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes…”

MacVaugh said those diseases are related to lifestyle and cannot be cured with a drug or surgical procedure, pointing to his company as a viable option for learning how to stay healthy. “Only by nourishing ourselves with real, fresh, organic food will we even begin to stem the tide of solving the biggest killers in our country.”

Tarwater also touched on the correlation between the health of a community and the business climate, which had an impact on attendees.

“Productivity skyrockets when employees are well feed, compensated and feel like they are making contributions to the organization they belong to,” MacVaugh said.

“I think it is important that we have a healthy city,” Barnes said, echoing MacVaugh’s thoughts. “I would hope that all Charlotteans, regardless of where they live, could have easy access to parks, greenways, and fresh food…”

According to the 2013 Mecklenburg Community Health Assessment, as of 2011, the county has 37 miles of developed greenways – an increase from 20 miles that was still under construction in 2007.


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