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Sumner County Commits to Building Healthy Community

In an effort to build on its existing efforts to build a healthier community, the Sumner County Health Committee formally began working toward the "Healthier Tennessee initiative" designation on Tuesday.

"I do feel we are going to be successful, when I reviewed the Healthier Tennessee guidelines, we really felt like we were already meeting many of the objectives," Amy Summers, chairperson of the Sumner County Health Committee said. "We want to make sure that everyone is involved since this is a community-wide event." 

Healthier Tennessee is a statewide effort by the Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness to enable and encourage Tennesseans to lead healthier lives.

report from the state Department of Economic Community & Development, health and wealth go hand in hand. Sumner County is the second wealthiest and fourth healthiest county in the state.

Tennessee officials said that the health of a community is one of the factors companies consider when moving to the state. By the time companies are talking to the ECD about coming to the state, executives have already seen education and health statistics, state officials said.

After reviewing Sumner County's efforts for a year, Gov. Bill Haslam may formally designate and recognize members of the community in a ceremony next spring. 

"Sumner County will spend a year through the process and they will implement initiatives in physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation and once they complete those they will have a chance to receive the designation officially from the governor," said foundation spokeswoman Molly Sudderth. 

Those engaged in the Healthier Community process do several things to achieve the designation, including creating a wellness council and rallying around physical activity. Sumner County already has a health committee and recently kicked off the annual Get Healthy Sumner events. Other ways to earn the title of a healthier community include meeting up with others to partake in healthy meals and eliminating tobacco use. 

According to Sudderth, success is guaranteed if a wide array of entities are involved in the effort, including schools and local governments.

"We have 84 communities across Tennessee currently participating in the program and 24 have received their designation," Sudderth said. 

Sumner County Schools has approximately 30,000 students enrolled and they will play a role in achieving this designation, according to Janel Garrett, who leads the district's Coordinated School Health program. 

"This is extremely exciting for us because we work with all students to get them up, to get them moving to help them learn healthy lifestyles and continue the effort for physical activity," Garrett said. "We are very committed to making sure we are successful."

Reach Pranaav Jadhav at pjadhav@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter @pranaavj

Article Courtesy of The Tennessean