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Washington County working to become a Healthier Tennessee Community

Brandon Paykamian • Updated Nov 9, 2017 at 11:57 PM

In an effort to promote healthier habits throughout the region, the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness recently named Washington County a candidate for official designation as a Healthier Tennessee Community.

Healthier Tennessee Communities are defined as those that encourage and enable more physical fitness, healthy eating habits and tobacco abstinence.

According to Live Well Washington County Chairperson Angelee Murray, the aim of the initiative is to “take a community-wide approach to improving Tennesseans’ health” by engaging local leaders in the public and private sectors. 

Murray said that, by encouraging non-profits, businesses, places of worship and other local organizations to make a pledge to promote these goals, Live Well Washington County will be eligible for a grant of $5,000 by the Governor’s Foundation to fund projects throughout the community.

“As long as we get more places in Washington County to say they’re in agreement to these goals, the Governor's Foundation will grant us $5,000, and we’ll get to choose what we’re going to do in Washington County to promote this initiative,” Murray said. “Though 5,000 doesn’t go very far, it will at least get us started.”

As of now, one of the main goals of the organization is to install water bottle refill stations in some of the city and county schools. This, according to Murray, will encourage students to drink more water and less soda.

“We want to make Washington County a healthier community by providing water bottle refill stations to some deserving Washington County schools, as well as educating citizens about choosing healthier foods and potentially promoting a no smoking campaign to our youth,” Murray said.

Murray said goals such as these are “small steps” in working to become a healthier community.

By encouraging healthier habits, the idea is that the efforts of Live Well and its results will create a ripple effect, according to Governor’s Foundation CEO Richard Johnson.

“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,” Johnson said in a press release. “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.”

To learn more about the initiative, Murray encourages organizations and individuals to visit www.healthiertn.com, where visitors can find tips on healthy cooking recipes, exercising and how to quit smoking.

On Nov. 27, Live Well Washington County will hold a public meeting at the Washington County Health Department from 3 to 4 p.m., where people can learn more about the Healthier Tennessee Community initiative and how to get involved.

“We would love to have a representative from any business to come by and check us out to see what we're doing and hopefully get involved,” Murray said.

 

Email Brandon Paykamian at bpaykamian@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Brandon Paykamian on Twitter at @PaykamianJCP. Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PaykamianJCP.

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