CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WRCB) -- Roughly 8.3 percent of Americans have diabetes. In McMinn County, that number is a dangerous 12 percent.
Lee Montgomery and the Athens-McMinn YMCA are working hard to get that number down. This $160,000 grant from Marshall University will certainly help.
"We're proud to be able to bring this money into the community," says Montgomery.
The grant is called "Together with Diabetes," and it provides $40,000 each year for four years.
"We'll have some weight loss competitions with parents and teachers. Whoever loses the most percentage maybe will get a track, and anything we do will be open to the community because it's not just about childhood diabetes," says Montgomery.
They're also planning to install healthy snack machines in schools, hospitals and all over the county.
Montgomery says diabetes doesn't just affect those who have it.
"I actually had my great grandmother lose limbs because of diabetes," he says. "It's been many years, but I didn't know how to handle it."
Their goal is to prevent those who don't have it and go as far as getting those with it off of medication.
It starts with healthy eating and physical activity. He says you can't make somebody change, they have to want to. He's here to make McMinn County want to.
Montgomery says, "We'll get people to think why they want to get better. Is it because they want to be there longer for their families. Gotta find that warm spot that's gonna spark that fire to make them get better."