Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Statewide Health Initiative Launches in Seven Memphis Neighborhoods

Posted By on Wed, Oct 25, 2017 at 11:46 AM


Seven Memphis neighborhoods will join a statewide grassroots initiative aimed at improving the overall health of the community.

Binghampton, Crosstown, Klondike Smokey City, Orange Mound, South Memphis, Uptown, and Vollintine Evergreen will participate in the Healthier Tennessee Communities program, the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness announced Wednesday.

The initiative will be completely resident-led in the chosen neighborhoods. Over the next year, residents there will establish community wellness councils who will implement a health-driven neighborhood plan.

Launched in 2015, the Healthier Tennessee Communities program strives specifically to increase the number of Tennesseans who are physically active for at least 30 minutes five times a week, eat healthy diets, and use tobacco less.

According to the Governor’s Foundation, one in four adults and one in five high school students use tobacco in Tennessee. Additionally, about 33 percent of the state’s population is classified as obese, while type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are at “near-epidemic levels.”

Dr. Eziza Ogbeiwi-Risher of the Smokey City Klondike Community Development Corporation said in her neighborhood, she’s seen poor health turn into chronic disease, which turns into an an economic burden for many families.

“If you’re not healthy, you’re not able to work,” she said.

But, she said the residents have jump started efforts toward a healthier community, by tackling food access and growing community gardens. Additionally, she said a neighborhood farmer's market is set to open there in the spring, followed by the launch of community cooking classes and efforts to encourage more park usage.

Healthier Tennessee Communities currently operates in 100 communities in the state; Memphis will be the first urban area to participate.

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