Meigs County began as a rural farming community and has remained that for most of its existence. Being one of the smallest counties in the U.S. it has never had a railroad line or a major highway, and until the 20th century, it relied on the Tennessee River for most of its commerce and supplies. The original settlers of Meigs County were very much like other settlers of the Appalachian region of America in the 18th and early 19th centuries; they were predominantly the Scotch-Irish immigrants from Ulster in Ireland. Most historians consider them to have been the largest single ethnic group to emigrate and settle in Appalachia.
The main geographic feature of Meigs County is its border with the Tennessee River and TVA Reservoirs. The county is bound completely to the west by the Tennessee River and its reservoirs. Watts Bar Lake is on the northern end of the county. The lower third of the county is divided by the Hiwassee River. Decatur is the county seat of Meigs County and the only incorporated town in the county. It is located in the middle of the county.
Meigs County Health Council consists of representatives from the Meigs County Health Department, Meigs County Primary Care Center, Dr. Shane Roberts’ Primary Care Clinic, the Town of Decatur, Meigs County Government, Meigs County Department of Education, Meigs County Senior Center, Coordinated School Health, the Chamber of Commerce, The H.O.P.E. Center, U.T. Extension, churches, and community volunteers. One of the things the Health Council is proud of is raising $25,000 for advanced life support and to send two employees to school to become paramedics. Because of the Health Council, Meigs County residents have a well-equipped ambulance service with properly trained staff. We are also proud of helping to bring the mobile mammography coach to the county, creating awareness of the need for breast cancer screening, and raising money for the disc golf course.
One program that the Council does for diabetes prevention is Healthy Horizons. This is an annual event where fourth grade students and their parents come to the Fairgrounds for a fun, interactive day of learning about nutrition and physical activity. Students go from station to station learning about proper portion sizes, sugar, calcium, and the plate method. They also experience different types of exercise. Parents have sessions on healthy cooking and everyone enjoys taste tests. Healthy Horizons is scheduled for May 8th. Since children cannot change their home environment without their parent’s cooperation, the goal is to educate parents with the children and get them to commit to healthier food and a more active lifestyle. The Council also teaches both healthy cooking classes and diabetic cooking classes at the Meigs County Senior Center. A separate grant allows students at one of the two elementary schools to have regular taste testing of fruits and vegetables along with nutrition lessons about the fruits and vegetables. Receiving the diabetes grant will allow our Council to expand diabetes prevention and control efforts.