Leading the Way on Wellness in Tennessee

For too many years, the people of Tennessee have had failing health grades. How can they turn this around? Read about the Healthier Tennessee initiative, which strives to increase physical activity, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco.

For too many years, the people of Tennessee have had failing health grades.

State residents have one of the highest smoking rates in the country at 25%, and a shocking 27% of Tennesseans do not engage in regular exercise — landing them at the 43rd spot for overall health of all 50 states.

How can Tennesseans turn this around?

Small lifestyle changes like taking the stairs and eating more nutritious options can add up and yield big results.

In 2013, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam introduced the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, a non-profit 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. One way the Governor’s Foundation is doing this is through its Healthier Tennessee initiative, which strives to increase physical activity, promote a healthy diet, and reduce the number of people who use tobacco.

While making healthy choices can seem overwhelming, the Healthier Tennessee initiative is rooted in the idea that small (and cost-free!) lifestyle changes, like taking the stairs and eating more nutritious options, can add up and yield big results. With their free app, Streaks for Small Starts, and workplace programs, the Governor’s Foundation is making it easier to track goals and hold one’s self accountable.

And it’s working. Thanks to the partnership of major Tennessee employers, like LifePoint Health, a leading healthcare company dedicated to making communities healthier, Tennessee’s workforce is being introduced to healthier practices and encouraged to lead healthier lifestyles. A principal partner in the initiative since its inception, the leadership team at LifePoint was quick to recognize that the goals of the Governor’s Foundation aligned nicely with their efforts to create places where people choose to come for healthcare, physicians want to practice and employees want to work. Furthermore, LifePoint recognizes the leadership role its hospitals play in their communities and believes it is important that they remain active and engaged in their communities.

The willingness of LifePoint’s leadership team to champion this statewide initiative has led to great results. Since 2013, LifePoint’s 10 hospital campuses across the state, along with LifePoint’s Health Support Center in Brentwood, have been recognized as Healthier Tennessee workplaces because of their efforts. For instance, at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System (STRHS) - Pulaski, a one-mile walking path has been built around campus, the cafe and vending machines now include more nutritious options, and the campus is 100% tobacco-free.

“The staff at STRHS really embraced this effort — almost like a challenge. Along the way, we’ve had a lot of fun with this, too!”

Jim Edmondson

STRHS - Pulaski CEO

Read more about STRHS’ wellness efforts in Giles News.

At LifePoint’s Health Support Center in Brentwood, employees can take advantage of a state-of-the-art fitness facility or participate in a number of organized fitness groups, such as the Company’s running club.

In an op-ed published in The Tennessean, LifePoint’s CEO William (Bill) F. Carpenter III said the changes the company and its hospitals are making, have been transformational:

“Our employees have embraced their health and wellness in a meaningful way and, in turn, are healthier and more productive in their jobs. More importantly, our focus on wellness helps to make LifePoint a place where employees want to work.” Read more of Carpenter’s op-ed in The Tennessean.

“Our employees have embraced their health and wellness in a meaningful way and, in turn, are healthier and more productive in their jobs.”

William (Bill) F. Carpenter III

LifePoint CEO

From the important work the Governor’s Foundation is doing to LifePoint Health’s leadership in the Healthier Tennessee movement, one thing’s for certain: Tennessee’s leaders in healthcare know their state’s health is too important to keep putting at risk, and they are determined to make a change.

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