One of the most important factors in how long you live and how healthy you are is your address.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the physical design of your community affects your health every time you step out your door. The benefits of physical activity are well-documented, but it can be hard to move more without access to sidewalks, parks or trails.
High rates of obesity and other chronic conditions — like diabetes and cardiovascular disease —inspired efforts in west Georgia to create more opportunities for physical activity. Those efforts included examining how to build an environment that will motivate people in the community to get off their couches and into fitness.
Designing a community that encourages residents to become more active helps people live longer and healthier lives. An important part of that equation is making the community more bike-and-pedestrian friendly — and that’s what makes the Carrollton GreenBelt one of the region’s best resources to improve the community’s health.
“There are few resources in the nation that can advance health that are as functional and user-friendly as the Carrollton GreenBelt,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner Health System. “The GreenBelt ties perfectly with Tanner’s mission to improve the health of the communities we serve. The trail is such a great addition to the community that we are incorporating it into our campus plan.”
Recognized as a means to not only preserve the environment, but also the community’s health, Tanner last year announced plans to invest $35 million in a new health pavilion adjacent to the trail.
The GreenBelt is more than a destination where people can take in all the beautiful sights and sounds nature has to offer: it’s also a place where people can jumpstart a new exercise program, spend quality time with their families or come together in support of a local 5K.
“Tanner is grateful for the vision of local leaders and volunteers who wanted to create a sustainable trail system in Carrollton that promotes health, recreation and transportation,” said Howard. “The Carrollton GreenBelt is an important addition to West Georgia and plays an integral role in improving community health. It’s helping re-engineer a healthier community.”
Having the GreenBelt come through Tanner’s campus has had a great impact on improving the health of Tanner employees. It has given Tanner an even greater opportunity to promote health and actually show people how to use the GreenBelt as part of their commitment to exercise.
Tanner is also excited to see how adoption and use of the GreenBelt continues to grow. After seeing the positive impact the GreenBelt was having on the community’s health, Tanner, Southwire, the University of West Georgia and the city of Carrollton joined the Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt to bring the national bike-sharing company Zagster to west Georgia.
Denise Taylor, senior vice president and chief community health and brand officer for Tanner, understands that improving the community’s health is a community-wide effort that requires help from partners like Friends of Carrollton GreenBelt.
“We are grateful for the support of our partners in the community who are helping spread awareness about all the great things the GreenBelt has to offer,” said Taylor. “Since the GreenBelt opened, there has been a tremendous boost of physical activity in the area. This one single thing is probably going to do more to change the health in our community than we can even imagine. It’s been amazing to see how a shared vision for fun and function has become a reality, and to watch as more and more people begin using it as a way to improve their health.”
Over the years, the Carrollton GreenBelt has become the go-to destination for people to get more physical activity. As a health system that values preventive care, Tanner loves seeing families exercising together on the GreenBelt and taking proactive steps to get or stay healthy.
“The Carrollton GreenBelt provides the perfect environment for growing a more sustainable and healthier community,” said Taylor. “The Greenbelt is also a perfect example of how a community can literally build an environment that encourages health and wellness.”
Having the Carrollton GreenBelt has given Get Healthy, Live Well an even greater platform to teach people about healthy living and incorporating exercise in their daily lives. The very existence of the GreenBelt has made the Safe Routes to School program a reality by providing a safe, convenient and fun environment for students to walk or bike to school.
“The Carrollton GreenBelt is such a great gift for our community,” said Taylor. “We would like to thank Laura Richards for her leadership and vision to create a trail system that not only helps us get to where we want to go, but helps us live healthier and happier lives.”
The GreenBelt is a unique resource for the region that offers a way for people to spend some time outdoors with their loved ones, see something new and get to know the community a little better.
“Tanner is proud that we’ve been able to join others in the community and grateful for those who have helped make the GreenBelt what it is and what it’s destined to be,” said Howard.