Program aims to curb high obesity rates in rural Georgia

Those trying to improve the health of rural Georgians with bike trails and walking paths say strict guidelines from funders may be holding them back.

When it comes to construction, they are not allowed to use materials that are permanent, like cement. While dirt walking paths are great at first, they don’t last for long, explains Barbara Twilley, who for the past two years has been trying to introduce programs to address high obesity rates in Taliaferro county.

She works with Healthier Together Taliaferro, a program operated by the University of Georgia. One of its goals is to introduce landscape designs that facilitate exercise. The program is funded through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant that supports rural counties with an obesity rate of over 40 percent.

Despite the challenges, however, Twilley and others are finding a way to have an impact. Amber Perry, a graduate student studying journalism at the University of Georgia, explains how in this post for the non-profit news site Georgia Health News.