A recent study showed the obesity rate in Coweta County currently sits at 26.3 percent.
Damien Hansra, a medical oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan, said someone who is obese or morbidly obese is at risk for a variety of cancer types. Furthermore, there is emerging data that the more overweight an individual is, the higher the risk of certain cancers and mortality associated with particular cancers.
Obesity also causes 40 percent of new cancers diagnosed in the U.S. and is associated with 12 types of cancers, according to the CDC.
However, a solution to this epidemic is already in our backyard – the LINC.
The addition of the LINC in our community not only encourages a more physically active community but also signals a significant quality of life upgrade for Newnan.
The first segment of the LINC is over a mile long and already numerous residents have already taken advantage of the ability to ride bikes and walk without the imminent danger of motorized vehicles.
This is one of the greatest attributes of the LINC – it’s the ability to act as a gateway to a more active lifestyle. Those already logging serious mileage on their bikes or participating in a marathon aren’t the target demographic for the LINC.
The LINC is for those who want to introduce activity into their life, and there’s no better incentive for getting up and moving.
Newnan is just one of many communities that is enjoying the benefits from bike trails.
In Northwest Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation provided $74 million for the construction of the “Razorback Greenway” – a 37-mile trail system similar to the LINC, which makes up part of more than 160 miles of paths in the region.
As a result, use of trails in Northwest Arkansas rose 24 percent in the last two years.
The Walton Family Foundation reported that bicycling, in general, provided $137 million in health and economic benefits to the region in 2017.
While the LINC and the Razorback Greenway aren’t exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, the potential for the same benefits is there.
Unfortunately, Newnan doesn’t have a corporate benefactor or foundation to fund the LINC – yet.
So far, the city of Newnan has paid for the construction through sales tax, a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and impact fees.
And the response has been overwhelmingly positive. If you take an afternoon bike ride or stroll, you’ll be in good company.
So, hats off to the city of Newnan for paying for the construction of the LINC. We hope it’s the beginning of many more miles for the city, and hopefully the county will see the benefits for its residents, too.
For many, it’s not just a trail, but a lifeline to a longer, healthier life.