The Meigs County Health Council has been awarded the Public Health Group of the Year Award from the Tennessee Public Health Association. This award is given at the annual TPHA meeting in September to a local, regional or state public health group that has made an outstanding contribution to public health.
Meigs County Health Council applied for and received an Appalachian Diabetes Translation and Control Project grant due to the high rate of diabetes in the county. With the grant and assistance from community partners, two tracks have been built at both of the elementary schools in the county. Before the tracks were built, there was only one track in the middle of town which was not convenient for most residents of the county. Sidewalks were also not available in the county.
“Now that we have the two additional tracks, we have been able to implement walking programs for the elementary students as well as the adults in the community. This will make a big difference in the health of our county,” said Laura Smith, Health Council chairperson.
The Health Council also funded one station at the disc golf course in Decatur to provide another free and fun place for residents to be physically active.
The Health Council also works to improve the health of students through education. Nutrition education is regularly provided to all Meigs County students, and fourth grade students have a special nutrition and physical activity event each year called Healthy Horizons. Parents are invited to come to Healthy Horizons so the whole family can learn to make healthy food choices and be more aware of what they are eating.
Health Council members also take time away from their jobs for out-of -town meetings and training to learn more about how to make positive changes in the health of their community.
“The Health Council is a tremendous asset to this county because of the dedication of the members. They work incredibly hard to improve the health of their community,” said Beth Delaney, Health Council facilitator.
The Tennessee Public Health Association has more than 1,200 members and is one of the largest affiliates of the American Public Health Association.