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On the road to a healthier, fitter Tennessee

Johnson City • Updated Nov 17, 2017 at 11:36 AM

A new legislative task force has begun work on a problem that not only threatens the quality of life of many Tennesseans, but has become a drain on the state’s economy. The Tennessee Legislative Wellness Caucus has been charged with finding solutions to the health and fitness challenges that cost this state $5.3 billion annually in direct medical care, lost productivity and premature deaths.

State Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, is one of 38 lawmakers from the House and Senate who will be looking for ways to improve Tennessee’s ranking for the overall health and fitness of its citizens.

Currently, Tennessee is ranked among the most unhealthiest states in the nation. One in four adults in Tennessee still smoke, and one in five high school students use tobacco products. In addition to those dismal statistics, 33 percent of Tennesseans are classified as obese, and the number of residents with type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure continues to grow in all regions of the state.

Tackling these problems won’t be easy. It will take education and persistence to end generations of unhealthy habits. It will also take aggressive programs promoting better nutrition and exercise to make Tennesseans healthier and fitter.

We recommend the wellness caucus take a look at some of the programs in our community promoted by Johnson City’s Up and At ’Em, which was the first citywide health campaign to be implemented in Tennessee. One of them is the popular Turkey Trot Family Fun Run & Road Race held on Thanksgiving Day. The 12th Annual Turkey Trot will begin Thursday at 8:30 a.m. on Legion Street and end near the Memorial Park Community Center.

Visit jcturkeytrot.com to learn more about the health and fitness event and to register to participate.

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