State Pushes New Healthier Neighborhoods Program to Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - The story is about health care in Tennessee, where people need to change their lifestyles to be healthy. 
It is a story that hits me like a sledgehammer in my overly large stomach.

I am overweight. I have type 2 diabetes. I have had heart attacks, and high blood pressure.
There are thousands in Memphis who are the same.
It is something the state of Tennessee wants to stop, says Richard Johnson of the Governor's Foundation of Health and Wellness. 
Speaking to a group of neighborhood representatives at a meeting in Crosstown, he said, "We are here to walk alongside you you, to make Memphis a healthier city, one neighborhood at a time."

Members are putting their program into neighborhoods.
Six of them in Memphis, where groups will organize and get people moving.
It's not easy, Memphis is not a walking friendly town, and it has never been a traditionally healthy food town.
It is something the experts say must be done, especially in the economically hurting neighborhoods.

Working on the program in the Klondike/Smokey City neighborhoods is Dr. Eziza Ogbeiwi-Risher, who says, "I think people are ready for a change. Some don't know how to change, so that's what we do is give them opportunities to change. We have to teach people. We won't force anybody, but we can teach and provide them opportunities."

Memphis historically gets tagged as the nations fattest city, the most out of shape city in the country, and these aren't honors anybody brags about.
So the idea that the governor's health and wellness group is expanding its neighborhood program here is a good thing, according to city officials.
Mayor Jim Strickland couldn't make the event, but aide Kenneth Moody says, "We're so glad and thankful that you took Memphis to launch this because its needed."

First Memphis, then maybe Shelby County, then elsewhere, because there are a lot of people in Tennessee who need to get healthy. "Tennessee has ranked at the bottom compared to other states for the last couple of decades," says Richard Johnson  "... far too long."


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