Haslam pushes exercise, nutrition, and a "Healthier Tennessee"

Haslam said the initiative will encourage residents to be more physically active and eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. The program also asks people to stop using tobacco, or never start.

In this Feb. 14, 2013 photo, Cindy Rodkin, a member of the K9 Fit Club, works out with her golden retriever, Khaki, looking on during a class held in Chicago. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam has announced a new statewide health and wellness initiative.

Haslam visited the Church Health Center Memphis on Tuesday to launch the "Healthier Tennessee" program.

Haslam said the initiative will encourage residents to be more physically active and eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. The program also asks people to stop using tobacco, or never start.

Haslam noted Tennessee is one of the least healthy states, with high rates of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and heart disease.

The initiative will bring together employers, health care providers, health insurance companies, schools and community organizations to promote healthier behaviors.

The Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness, based in Nashville, will direct the initiative.

Haslam plans stops in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Kingsport and Nashville this week to promote the program.


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