Petersburg Receives Grant to Improve Health Rankings

Petersburg is consistently ranked as one of the most unhealthy cities in the entire state, but things are starting to improve.

Petersburg is one of only 20 communities in  the country that received a $10,000 grant to study ways to improve healthy eating and even exercising options within the city. City officials say this is a major boost that could help break a cycle of unhealthy habits.

The grant is will bring many stake holders together to implement plans on improving the city’s overall health rankings.

8News spoke with a doctor who works in Petersburg, who says she has many patients who have chronic, but preventable diseases. She is currently working with many of those patients to teach them healthier lifestyle habits.

“Sometimes I don’t know what is the hurdle that is not allowing them to do these simple things. Changing eating habits, preventing drinking soda, preventing drinking juice,” says Dr. Bhavna Saraiya, an internal medicine doctor with Southside Regional Medical Center.

Now the entire city will be expected engage in creating a health conscious culture in Petersburg, a transformation that’s already begun.

“We’ve seen people who really want to make a change personally, individually, but also want to make a change to the community as a whole,” says Mike Roberts, the Executive Director of Petersburg’s YMCA.

Even though the city recently received this grant, there are current resources that people can take advantage of to improve their health. Two of those examples include walking groups at the YMCA and free classes at Southside Regional Medical Center that teach people how to control their diabetes.

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