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Tennesseans Know How To Live Healthier—They Just Don’t Do It

WUOT News, Matt Shafer Powell

A survey of 1200 Tennesseans shows they know the importance of eating right and exercising.  They know they shouldn’t smoke.  They even say they’re ready to make changes in their habits. 

But few are actually going through with it.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, part of Governor Bill Haslam’s Healthier Tennessee initiative.

It found 93% know the value of regular exercise, but only 24% exercise the recommended amount (five times per week, at least 30 minutes per session).

It found 92% know the value of good nutrition, but only 8% eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables (five servings per day).

The problem isn’t that they don’t want to change their lifestyles.  In fact, 73% said they were interested in exercising more, 82% are thinking of eating better and 71% of smokers said they’d like to quit soon.

But many reported they simply don’t have the time to make the changes.  Forty percent said they’d exercise more if they had the time and 17% said they’d eat healthier with more time. 

Cost was also an issue for some.  Twenty-nine percent said the price of healthy food is prohibitive.    

“The research tells us there is a broad awareness of the link between behaviors and health outcomes, but that awareness alone isn’t motivating Tennesseans to live healthier lives,” Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness CEO Rick Johnson said in a statement. “Tennesseans need additional encouragement, help identifying concrete action steps, and social or community support to engage them in making sustained changes to their lifestyles.”

Haslam introduced the Healthier Tennessee initiative last year in response to Tennessee’s elevated rates of hypertension, stroke, Type II Diabetes and certain types of cancer.  The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness is the non-profit organization created to oversee the initiative.