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Healthier Tennessee Launches Free “Small Starts @ Worship” Program

Healthier Tennessee launches free Small Starts @ Worship program

The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, through its Healthier Tennessee initiative, today announced the launch of Small Starts @ Worship, an online wellness toolkit for faith communities. It is available at no cost to congregations across the state at

Small Starts @ Worship provides faith leaders with tips, ideas and actions to help members get healthier together. It is simple to use and can be adapted for congregations of all sizes. The toolkit is optimized for use on desktops, tablets and smartphones.

Tennessee consistently ranks among the least healthy states in the nation. Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure are at near epidemic levels, the rate of obesity has risen from 10 percent to 31 percent since 1988, only three states have higher rates of tobacco use, and our children now have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

The Foundation’s Healthier Tennessee initiative is offering free, easily accessible ways for Tennesseans to start being more active, eating healthier, and not using tobacco. Available at, the Small Starts tools can be used by individuals, workplaces and, now, faith congregations.

“Places of worship play an integral role in our communities. They are places where we find support, develop relationships and nourish our spirits,” Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness CEO Rick Johnson said. “Creating cultures of wellness in these important and influential settings can strengthen our bodies as well as our souls.”

Healthier Tennessee launched Start Now, a statewide awareness campaign, in October 2013, Small Starts, a series of more than 60 personal health challenges for individuals, in January, and Small Starts @ Work, a wellness toolkit for the workplace. Small Starts @ Worship is the latest part of the effort to encourage healthier living in Tennessee.

For more information locally about Small Starts @ Worship or other Small Starts programs, please contact Linda Hyder with UT Extension – Sevier County at 865-453-3695 or [email protected]

About UT Extension - Sevier County

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. It is a statewide educational organization, funded by federal, state and local governments, that brings research-based information about agriculture, family and consumer sciences, and resource development to the people of Tennessee where they live and work. Sevier News Messenger distributes UT Extension news as a courtesy. UT Extension – Sevier County can be found at