Community Invited to Kick Off ‘Get Healthy West Georgia’

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A massive initiative to reduce obesity rates and improve the health of communities in Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties will kick off on April 25, and area residents are invited to be among the first to get motivated, get started and get involved!

Get Healthy West Georgia is a new initiative, led by Tanner Health System with initial funding from the Community Foundation of West Georgia, that will support residents in adopting more physically active lifestyles and making healthier nutrition choices.

The community kick-off event will be held on Wednesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. in Classroom 2 of the Health Education and Wellness Learning Center at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton. The event is free to attend.

“Obesity and unhealthy lifestyles are literally cutting short the lives of residents throughout west Georgia,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner Health System. “They are contributing to high rates of heart disease and diabetes. With Get Healthy West Georgia, we’re taking charge in encouraging a change in the way people choose to live their lives. Healthier meals, more exercise and a focus on wellness can turn this around.”

A report earlier this year from the nonprofit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute provided county-by-county statistics on more than 3,000 counties throughout the country. According to the report, 31 percent of adults in Carroll and Haralson counties are obese—higher than the national (25 percent) and Georgia (28 percent) benchmarks. Heard County’s adult obesity rate was 28 percent—still above the national benchmark, but on target with the state’s. The percentages of adults who report getting insufficient leisure physical activity—such as walking and other recreation—also are higher than state and national benchmarks for all three counties.

The kickoff will feature a presentation from Michelle May, MD, a physician and author of “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle,” who will discuss “mindful eating” and how meaningful, lasting changes to one’s diet can be achieved.

Participants at the event also will hear from Christopher Arant, MD, a board-certified interventional cardiologist with Tanner Heart & Vascular Specialists, on how obesity affects a person’s health and how losing as little as 10 pounds can make a substantial difference in a person’s health.

Residents also can learn more about the initiative’s new interactive Web site and can be among the first to join Get Healthy West Georgia. Members of Tanner’s leadership also will be on hand to provide more information about the initiative and ways it can help people lose weight and improve their health, all free of charge.

“This effort is all about community engagement,” said Howard. “We want to register 1,000 people in the first month—5,000 during the first year—of this initiative. We want to be able to total 1 million miles walked among our participants in the first year. We want to give people the tools and the incentive to lose 10 pounds or more, and keep it off. Together—as we provide encouragement and support for one another—a healthier community is absolutely within our grasp. We can make Carroll, Haralson and Heard among the healthiest counties in Georgia.”

To learn more, explore the Get Healthy West Georgia Web site. If you’re ready to get healthy, click Get Started now!