Two-thirds of Cobb County residents are overweight, and for the first time in the nation’s history, today’s children may live shorter lives than their parents, said Dr. Jack Kennedy, district health director for Cobb & Douglas Public Health.
To reverse that trend, a new program, called the Cobb2020 Partnership, aims to reduce the obesity rate in Cobb County by 5 percent over the next five years.
“Most of the chronic diseases that are killing and disabling people in this country — heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, to name a few — are highly correlated with weight,” Kennedy said.
The program, which is being led by Kennedy and Cobb Schools spokesman Jay Dillon, is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has already awarded it $1 million with the possibility of receiving another $1.5 million, Kennedy said.
Cobb2020 has conducted a health assessment of county residents, and program leaders are now developing a plan to encourage the community to adopt healthier habits.
“There have been other health initiatives over the years led by the Chamber or other groups, and I’m sure that those were useful, but to engage the number of high-level stakeholders for a very lengthy period of time … is no small task,” Kennedy said.