In south Georgia’s Colquitt County, Marsha Davis of the College of Public Health and colleagues are sharing information on healthy eating and exercise. They are connecting to the community through a weekly newsletter for parents, family fun nights that are held in partnership with the local YMCA, and promotions of community-wide initiatives such as Farmer’s Markets and walking trails. The researchers use evidence-based practices from some of the major child physical activity and nutrition programs, tailored to the community and delivered in engaging, interactive ways.
“Because obesity is a complex issue, we need to work with, rather than in, the community,” said Davis.
The program in Colquitt County is conducted through the university’s Archway Partnership, which brings university expertise to community identified needs. Pediatricians there have reported seeing elementary school students with high blood pressure, and health officials have seen children with type II diabetes—a disease that was called adult-onset until rising rates of obesity necessitated a name change.