Campus News

CDC grant to boost prevention efforts in high-obesity counties

UGA has been awarded a two-year, $1.25 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to boost obesity prevention efforts in Georgia’s most impacted rural counties: Calhoun and Taliaferro.

There, UGA will work with county leaders and local stakeholders to improve nutrition and increase physical activity.The projects are called Healthier Together Calhoun and Healthier Together Taliaferro.

Land-grant colleges and universities, located in states with counties with an adult obesity prevalence of over 40 percent, were able to apply for the special funding available through the CDC’s Programs to Reduce Obesity in High Obesity Areas.

“To have a major impact on ­obesity, we must involve multiple community sectors—elected officials, churches, businesses, grocery stores and local health departments—and use multiple strategies,” said Marsha Davis, principal investigator of the project and associate dean of outreach and engagement at the UGA College of Public Health.

The project will be led by the College of Public Health and UGA Cooperative Extension, an outreach unit of the university supported by specialists in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Additional partners include UGA’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, a public service and outreach unit; local, district and state UGA Extension offices; local community organizations; and local, district and state public health departments.

The primary goal of the project is to implement environmental changes to promote healthy eating and physical activity in places where children, youth and families spend their time. Proposed interventions involve working with schools, community organizations, local government and businesses to serve healthy food, sell healthy food and create places to be physically active.