Story by Becca Bauer, O’Neill Communications

The Cobb2020 Partnership for a Healthier Cobb County recently hosted The Weight is Over…A Healthier Cobb Starts NOW! at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre for key Cobb business and community leaders to learn about the growing health problems and barriers to health services in Cobb County.

More than 350 guests from the community attended and were introduced to the Cobb2020 Partnership, which is designed to improve the overall health status of Cobb County. Guests received an introduction to the Health Improvement Plan that will address this critical issue and incorporate necessary actions that support a healthier Cobb. The event was provided through sponsorships from Kaiser Permanente, WellStar, Cobb Public Health, Cobb County Government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Life University, Whole Foods Market, Lockheed and many others.

“Our goal was to bring together community leaders and actively involve them in the Cobb2020 Health Improvement Initiative,” said Jack Kennedy, director of Cobb & Douglas Public Health and the Cobb2020 Steering Committee vice chair. “This initiative is far too big for any one person or organization to accomplish. However, by working together and pledging to impact our circles of influence, we will improve the health of Cobb County.”

The Cobb2020 Partnership is dedicated to changing Cobb’s unhealthy status and motivating local community leaders to join this commitment. The plan involves creating a strategic policy and implementing wellness changes that make it easier for everyone to embrace a healthier lifestyle and proper nutrition.

WSB’s Condace Pressley emceed the program that featured addresses from Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, Jay Dillon, director of communications for the Cobb County School District, Dr. Judith Monroe, CDC deputy director and Dr. Ursula Bauer, director of the National Prevention Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Each speaker energized the crowd and further emphasized the importance of the Cobb2020 Health Improvement Initiative.

The program also featured a brief highlight of HBO’s “Weight of the Nation,” a national series addressing America’s obesity epidemic. Students from Sope Creek Elementary School and Cobb2020 sponsor mascots engaged the crowd in their early morning physical activity routine that demonstrated a simple and fun way for everyone to integrate healthy activities into their daily routines. Local comedian Scott Davis also provided “laugher for good health” through his personal weight lost testimonial.

“For the first time in Cobb County, we have hospital systems, physicians, other healthcare providers, local governments, schools, chambers of commerce, businesses, churches, civic organizations and nonprofits all coming together, dedicated to making our community better,” said. “I’m just amazed at the collaboration and momentum we’ve had so far. It’s an exciting time.”

To keep the momentum going, the Cobb2020 Partnership presented a call to action video, produced by Cobb County Government TV23, showcasing some of the most influential leaders in the Cobb community and state who have already committed to the Cobb2020 health movement and are encouraging others to join. Cobb2020 believes the best way to be effective in community health improvement is to start locally – with local governments, educators, business owners and healthcare providers.

The event came to a close with the Cobb2020 Partnership asking Cobb’s leaders to join the effort and sign a pledge of commitment to build a healthier Cobb County.

To help everyone get involved, Cobb2020 offered attendees a pledge card with samples of how they can pledge their support both as an individual and as a business, school or organization. To date, more than 170 pledge cards have been completed. Gift bags were given out to attendees as well and included tips and toolkits to get them started on making healthy changes. All information and pledge cards are also available on the Cobb2020 website at

“The decision you make today will payoff for you, your family, your employees and our community for many years to come,” said Kennedy. “Collectively, we can make a difference and lead the charge to make the change we know our County needs to be the healthiest place to live, work, learn and play.”

About the Cobb2020 Health Improvement Initiative
The Cobb2020 Health Improvement Initiative is a partnership of community organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles and the delivery of essential health services in Cobb County. Together, through a strategic process called Mobilizing Action Through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP), Cobb2020 has assessed the current health status of the County and is developing a Health Improvement Plan that will help create significant changes in building a healthier community. Supported by a Community Transformation Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the goal is to create a healthier community by making healthy living easier and more affordable where people live, work, learn and play. For more information about the Cobb2020 Partnership, please visit