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DeKalb County Working to Become a Healthier Tennessee Community

October 8, 2016

The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness today announced DeKalb County has been named a candidate for official designation as a Healthier Tennessee Community.

Healthier Tennessee Communities are those that encourage and enable more physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco abstinence at the local level. The program takes a community-wide approach to improving Tennesseans’ health by engaging the local leaders of cities, towns, counties and neighborhoods.

“Research has shown that we are much more likely to change our health-related behavior and establish healthy habits when we are encouraged and supported by others – when we are in community,” Governor’s Foundation CEO Richard Johnson said. “That’s why making health and wellness an integral part of life where you live – and with the people who surround you – makes such a positive difference.”

In Tennessee, one in four adults smokes, and one in five high school students uses tobacco. Approximately 31 percent of the population is classified as obese and an additional 34 percent are overweight, and type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure are at epidemic levels.

"I am very excited about our county working towards the Healthier Tennessee designation. This initiative will personally benefit anyone who takes part in it - mentally, emotional, and physically,” DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling said. “For our county, improving the health of our citizens also improves our economy - more industry, fewer work absenteeism and lower health care costs. I encourage you take part in this program in your home, church, workplace and community. By working together, we truly can make DeKalb County a healthier place to be!"

To be designated an official Healthier Tennessee Community, DeKalb County must identify wellness champions to lead the initiative that engages people in workplaces, schools and faith organizations, and then work to initiate and sustain community-wide events and activities that support physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco abstinence.

The community is expected to track and measure outputs and accomplishments of the program. They have one year to complete their work.
Counties currently working to become Healthier Tennessee Communities include: Anderson, Bedford, Benton, Blount, Carroll, Chester, Cocke, Crockett, Cumberland, Dickson, Franklin, Gibson, Giles, Grundy, Haywood, Henderson, Houston, Jefferson, Lake, Lauderdale, Macon, Marion, Marshall, Maury, McNairy, Meigs, Obion, Rhea, Sevier, Tipton, Trousdale, Weakley and Wilson.

The cities taking part are: Arlington, Clarksville, Collegedale, Cookeville, Crossville, and Spring Hill.

Decatur, Dyer, Hickman, Loudon and McMinn counties, Jackson–Madison County and the cities of Franklin, Germantown, Kingsport and Tullahoma have recently received the designation.

Cities and counties interested in becoming Healthier Tennessee Communities should contact the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness at tennessee@healthierstate.org or (615) 610-1880.

More information on the program and other Healthier Tennessee initiatives is available at www.healthiertn.com.

About the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness

The Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness is a non-profit corporation dedicated to enabling and encouraging Tennesseans to lead healthier lives. Based in Nashville, the Foundation brings together a statewide coalition of employers, health insurers, hospital systems, local governments, school systems and healthcare-focused foundations and community organizations to effect positive, measurable change. The Foundation’s Healthier Tennessee initiative strives to increase the number of Tennesseans who are physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco.

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