Healthy or not? Find out where your county stacks up

By: Kate Burgess Email
By: Kate Burgess Email

UNION COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- If people in Union County want fresh produce, they have to trek to one of the county's TWO grocery stores, or grow it themselves. Residents like Judith Cope are calling for healthier options.

"I think they should put in healthier places to eat. Where they serve fresh fruits and vegetables," she said.

Limited access to healthy food choices is one reason its one of the top 30 unhealthiest places in the state. Adding to the problem, many people don't know what a healthy diet is.

When I asked a Hickory Valley man what he would eat if he were on a diet, he said, "Mainly scrambled eggs."

Cope added, "They do eat fast food. A lot. I see the same people every time I go to Hardee's and they're always at McDonald's. Same people every time."

And there aren't many places where you can burn all those calories.

"We don't have a gym or anything like that, that I know of, in Union County. And we don't have anything physical for people to do."

"It's not easy to do workouts," echoed Joanne Wallace, another resident.

Over in 4th ranked Blount County not only do people have more healthy options, like grocery stores and farmers' markets where they can buy fresh produce, the county also has education programs, helping people understand it's part of a healthy diet.

Blount County Health Director Micky Roberts told me "We're trying to set a cultural context where it's more cool, it's more hip, it's more important to be moving and get ready, set, go! every day for what you're going to eat and what you're going to decide to do that day."

And with the county's 10 miles of running and biking trails, plus lakes and parks, it's easy to be active.

"There are opportunities to be exercise and get up and move in our community," Roberts added.

That's why it's making strides to being one of the healthiest in Tennessee.

At number 4, Blount was the highest ranked county in our area.
Four other counties made the top 3rd in the survey; Knox, Loudon, Sevier, and Grainger.

So where does your county stack up? Click the link to find out.

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