CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- What's taking place in one Dalton meeting room, could make a big difference in the health of the community

"We are the first community in Georgia out of 134 confirmed as achieve communities," says Ali Donahue of Northwest Georgia Healthcare.

As an achieve community, the grant empowers communities like Dalton to take steps to

  • Reduce chronic disease through various measures and strategies, while creating partnerships with community stakeholders.
  • Meeting with national leaders to find out about what resources are available to build healthier communities
  • Create an awareness of the vital services, and recreation that's available to local residents.

"It really fits the plan with all the walking paths, bike paths, things that we've been installing over the last two or three years," says Dalton Mayor David Pennington.

This grant brings everyone to the table. It not only focuses on the health care community, but also political leaders like the mayor, the faith-based community, and educators.

"Students can't learn unless their heath is in good shape in the first place," says Dalton Public School Supt. Jim Hawkins.

Childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years, leading to overweight adults with a growing number of health problems, racking up a rather large health care bill, leaving lots of communities in the red.

"Health care is a tremendous part of our budget and from city and county stand point it's a tremendous costs on our employers also," says Mayor Pennington.

The mayor says they need input from citizens, and that a healthy city is a productive city.