Photo by Tracey Wolfe
Grainger Today Editor
RUTLEDGE – The Grainger County Health Council is working to make Grainger County a Healthier Tennessee Community as part of a Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness program intended to encourage and enable more physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco abstinence at the local level.
Approximately one in five adults smoke, and one in five high school students uses tobacco in Tennessee. About 24 percent of the population is classified as obese and another 34 percent are overweight. Type -2 diabetes and high blood pressure are at epidemic levels throughout the state.
In order to be designated a Healthier Tennessee Community, and to receive a $5,000 grant, Grainger County must initiate and sustain community-wide events and activities supporting physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco abstinence.
In order to be eligible for the grant, 20 percent of workplaces must register for and use Small Starts for Work. Participating workplaces can take five steps to make a difference. They should make healthy food available, encourage and enable physical activity during the day, promote and encourage annual health screenings, set a tobacco-free campus-wide policy and reward participation and achievements. Businesses may find participation helps in the recruitment and retention of employees, increases productivity, reduces absenteeism and healthcare costs.
Local area churches are also required to participate in the program for grant eligibility.
A minimum of 15 percent of churches are required to register and use Small Starts for Worship. The program may help increase attendance for services and participation in both services and programs.
The program requires participation by 50 percent of teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade, using the GoNoodle program in their classrooms. GoNoodle provides short, interactive learning and movement activities that can be used in the classroom to help keep students engaged and motivated throughout the day.
Grainger County’s Healthier Tennessee committee has been dubbed “Grainger Growing Strong,” and has already received a positive response from the community. A number of teachers and schools, businesses and churches have already signed up to join Grainger Growing Strong’s efforts, including: Churches: 1st Freewill Baptist Church, New Freedom Missionary Baptist Church, Powder Springs Baptist Church, Oakland Baptist Church, Grainger County UT Extension, Rutledge FCE Club, Lakeview FCE Club, Bean Station FCE Club, Washburn FCE Club, Smith’s Drug Store, Grainger County Schools central office, Rutledge Primary School Rutledge Middle School, Bean Station Elementary School, Joppa Elementary School, Grainger County Office on Aging, Grainger County Health Department and the Grainger County Trustee’s office.
Businesses and churches interested in joining the Small Starts programs may do so by visiting www.HealthierTn.com, clicking the Small Starts tab at the top of the page and then choosing Small Starts for Work or Small Starts for Worship.