NASHVILLE -- Gov. Bill Haslam says it’s about time for the state to hop on the treadmill, eat better and make healthier choices.
Speaking in the gymnasium of a new health center in Jackson, Tenn., on Tuesday, Haslam announced his plan to start a new state foundation tasked with promoting healthy living in communities.
“I love Tennessee. I think it’s the best state, but we all know that we can do a better job taking care of ourselves,” Haslam told reporters following the event. “If we’ll exercise more, consume a better diet and either quit or don’t start using tobacco, we can make significant strides."
Tennessee consistently lands near the bottom on lists that rank states’ overall health.
On Tuesday, Haslam emphasized the economic implications of a healthier population, telling the crowd that moving Tennessee closer to the top of the list would save the state money over the long run by reducing health care spending and would also do more to attract companies looking for a healthier, and thus potentially less expensive, workforce.
The new Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness will include a “coalition of made up of major employers, hospital systems, health insurers, YMCAs, local governments,” as well as “health care-focused foundations and civic organizations,” according to a press release from Haslam’s office.
The foundation’s first major initiative, aptly titled “Healthier Tennessee,” will include statewide outreach, education, and local incentive programs along with data collection and measurement, Haslam said.