Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the launch of "Healthier Tennessee," an initiative to encourage Tennesseans to be more physically active, to eat nutritious foods in healthy portions, and not to use tobacco products.
"Tennessee is one of the best places there is to live, work and raise a family, but we also are one of the least healthy states in the nation," Haslam said. "Our citizens have high rates of behavior-related diseases such as hypertension and stroke, Type II diabetes, heart disease, and several types of cancer."
"This initiative is bringing employers, healthcare providers, health insurance companies, schools, and community organizations together in a coordinated way to encourage and promote healthier behaviors," he continued. "I believe that through this statewide effort, we can leverage health and wellness programs that are already happening in Tennessee communities, which will not only improve our quality of life but can reduce the cost of health care and the cost of doing business in Tennessee."
Haslam also announced the creation of the Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness, a non-profit corporation based in Nashville that will direct and lead the initiative over the long term. The governor introduced Rick Johnson as president and chief executive officer of the foundation.
Johnson, 61, most recently served as special assistant to the governor after being executive vice president of a healthcare provider in Knoxville, president of a management consulting firm, and a senior executive at two publicly-owned corporations based in Tennessee.
"The governor's creation and leadership of Healthier Tennessee and the fact that he has made health and wellness priorities are major steps to moving our state from among the least healthy to one of the healthiest places to live," Johnson said. "Our goal is for this campaign to become a movement, with renewed pride and positive attitudes that will lead to positive results."