By mtjulietintern

Submitted to Mt. Juliet News
Gov. Bill Haslam, center, stands with Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto last Tuesday as he recognized the county as one of nine healthier Tennessee communities. The duo is joined by Shelly Barnes, Traci Pope, Brenda Harper, Chuck Whitlock, Marisa Hunter, Tammy Grow and Lea Rowe.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness CEO Richard Johnson designated Wilson County as a Healthier Tennessee Communities last Tuesday.

“We must encourage and enable community-led efforts like the ones we’re celebrating today if we want to improve the health and quality of life of Tennesseans,” Haslam said. “I congratulate these communities on their efforts to improve the health of their citizens, and I hope more communities will strive to do the same.”

The Healthier Tennessee Communities initiative takes a local approach to improving Tennesseans’ health by engaging citizens and local leaders in cities, towns, counties and neighborhoods across the state.

To be designated, the communities established wellness councils and developed sustainable community-wide events and activities that support physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco abstinence. They then tracked and measured outputs and accomplishments of the programs.

“These communities have elevated the importance of health and wellness and are working to make it an integral part of life in their cities and counties,” Johnson said. “If we can continue to do this, community by community, we will make this a healthier Tennessee.”

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

The foundation launched the Healthier Tennessee Communities initiative in March 2015. Now, 78 communities are engaged with the program and 15 have received the designation.

More information about the communities program, including a list of participating cities and counties, and other Healthier Tennessee initiatives is available at

Staff Reports