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Bainbridge food desert contributes to obesity, community leaders working to change that

Health professionals note eating healthy can be difficult in Bainbridge
Posted at 6:36 PM, Dec 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-11 18:36:06-05
  • Data shows that 35 to 40 percent of Georgians are battling obesity.
  • The USDA reports that parts of Bainbridge are considered a food desert.
  • Watch the story to learn how local leaders are helping neighbors navigate through the chronic disease.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

A chronic disease continues to grow in numbers.

I'm talking to a woman who overcame her own battle with obesity and is now working to help others.

“I wanted to help my community,” said Bainbridge YMCA fitness trainer, Melanie Myers.

Myers tells me she began her fitness journey back in 2004. Over the course of two decades she's lost 120 pounds and never looked back.

“I enjoy teaching them the different aspects including nutrition and the exercise portion of it,” said Myers.

Now Myers works as a fitness instructor for the Bainbridge YMCA helping others with weight loss.

I checked with the Obesity Medicine Association. Their data shows almost half of the people in the United States are living with obesity.

Those numbers are higher in the southeast.

It's an issue Dr. Macy Tabb is all too familiar with.

"It's really hard honestly to overcome it,” according to Dr. Macy Tabb with Memorial Hospital & Manor.

Dr. Tabb works to help people in the Bainbridge area get to a healthy weight.

She confirms data from the U.S Department of Agriculture food atlas that shows the northern side of town is a food desert.

The nearest grocery store can be up to 20 miles away in those areas in green on your screen.

"We are at a disadvantage here just because of our lack of resources as far as grocery stores go,” said Tabb. “There are more food deserts even within the city there are pockets of food deserts.

Even if you can get to a supermarket, the cost of healthier food and the decision over what to buy can be overwhelming for some.

"A lot of my patients don't know where to start. A lot of that is cultural and some of it is just being in the south” said Tabb.” I like to ask.. Okay what did you eat last night? What did you eat Sunday at grandma's house?”

One reason she works is to help educate neighbors in the community about the best choice to make.

A mission Williams says she's proud to be part of.

“I enjoy helping people,” said Myers.

There are a lot of resources for people battling obesity.

Find out more here.