Last October, it was announced that Jackson County would receive a $1.15 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help lower the obesity rate that was the highest in the state for 2016.
Purdue Extension Jackson County has teamed up with health experts at Purdue University to develop and implement strategies to address the county’s rate, which is 39 percent.
Jackson County will share the grant with Lawrence County, which has the state’s second-highest obesity rate at 38 percent. The lowest rate in the state was 21 percent recorded by nearby Monroe County.
In early December, a Jackson County CDC meeting was conducted at the Purdue Extension office in Brownstown. Two representatives from Purdue were on hand to discuss the grant, answer questions and look at what already is being done to lower obesity rates in Jackson County.
A second meeting, set for 10 a.m. Jan. 23, will focus on what people want the community to look like and to find the gaps and figure out what steps need to be taken.
That meeting, which will be at the Community Foundation of Jackson County office, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, is for people who would like to learn more about how the grant will be used or are interested in helping with the effort.
Tim Gavin, professor and head of Purdue’s Department of Health and Kinesiology, applied for and received the two-year CDC grant for “reducing obesity in Indiana through community involvement to increase prevention.”
Some of the topics discussed during the first meeting were ways the local communities have been involved in trying to reduce obesity, including the implementation of physical fitness programs, organizing of 5K walks and runs and expanding upon county trails.
Also, there was a focus on youth-oriented groups and the growth of preventative wellness in communities, and some questions were answered on policy change and what could pose challenges to the effort.
Another point that came out of the first meeting was the need for potential partners, such as employers, churches, schools and nursing homes, to help with the initiative.
What: Jackson County CDC meeting
When: 10 to noon Jan. 23
Where: Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour
Who: Open to the public