Wellmont Partners With Leading Businesses To Launch LiveWell
And Transform Region’s Health
Living in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia carries
rich and bountiful traditions of wonderful music, breathtaking scenery and
abundant recreational opportunities.
But the region has long possessed traits that are not particularly
healthy for people who live here – diets loaded with fat and calories being a
prime example. Combine that with a sedentary lifestyle by many in the country
who find their television or computer a sufficient source of activity, and it’s
a recipe that produces potentially disastrous health consequences.
Wellmont Health System and six other prominent and
civic-minded employers in the area recognize this is an unsustainable path. So
they are banding together to help establish a new culture in Northeast Tennessee
and Southwest Virginia focused on wellness and healthier living.
Introducing Wellmont LiveWell, a free community health
transformation initiative that was unveiled Wednesday, July 10. It’s a
collaborative effort to empower those who live and work in the region to commit
to important habits such as regular exercise, healthy diets and maintaining
proper blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
At a news conference Wednesday, leaders of Wellmont, Eastman
Chemical Company, Food City, Alpha Natural Resources, Domtar Paper Company LLC,
Electro-Mechanical Corporation and Strongwell showed their support for a region
that embraces health. These visionary executives gathered at MeadowView
Conference Resort & Convention Center to explain why their companies are
supporting this vital partnership for the betterment of the region.
“Health care is changing quickly and in multiple ways,” said
Denny DeNarvaez, Wellmont’s president and CEO. “We’re still assessing, frankly,
how these changes will ultimately affect the health of our region and the rest
of the nation.
“But one change should generate virtually unanimous support
– the need to shift our efforts from only treating people when they are sick to
helping them stay healthy every day. That ultimately is what LiveWell is all
about, and we are fortunate to have forward-thinking business partners and
their employees embrace this program.”
Participation is simple. Anyone who is interested can go to www.wellmont.org and make the LiveWell
commitment to adopt substantive changes in his or her life that will result in
short-term and long-term positive outcomes.
When someone joins Wellmont LiveWell, he or she completes a
short registration process that includes the option to receive personalized information
on a variety of health topics, such as ways to effectively address diabetes,
heart disease and other chronic conditions. Participants also have the option
of taking a free personal health assessment.
LiveWell also offers an extensive health library that contains
information on virtually any health topic imaginable, as well as an online
calendar of healthy local events occurring throughout the region.
Joining LiveWell is a logical extension of many companies’
philanthropic and progressive efforts in the region. Jim Rogers, Eastman’s
chairman and CEO, said his company continues to build an award-winning health
and wellness program focused on the health and well-being of employees and
“We are pleased to join with others to help create a healthier
region for all of us, now and for generations to come,” Rogers said. “Eastman
believes it has a responsibility to help improve the health and vibrancy of the
communities where our employees live and work. Together, with other businesses
and communities, we can have a fundamental impact on our region.”
The region has hurdles to clear for a healthier status. A
recent report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of
Wisconsin Population Health Institute showed most counties in Northeast
Tennessee were in the middle of the pack or in the lower half in the state for
health outcomes. Three Southwest Virginia counties ranked in the top five
unhealthiest in the commonwealth, and many others did not fare well in the
Kevin Crutchfield, Alpha’s chairman and CEO, understands the
region’s challenges. His company was particularly motivated to fund the Alpha
Natural Resources Center for Interventional Cardiology at Bristol Regional
because the incidence and death rates for cardiovascular disease in Appalachia
are disproportionately higher than the rest of the country.
Studies indicated residents of Appalachia have a 15-20
percent greater chance of dying from heart disease than people who live
“We are eager to join our business partners in the region
and others to develop innovative solutions to improve our region’s health
status,” Crutchfield said. “These can include our funding initiatives for
children and families, social services and important healthcare initiatives,
such as our center at Bristol Regional. But we can also make a difference by
educating our employees and their families to advance their health, which we
also do through a variety of company wellness programs.”
Steve Smith, president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores, parent
company of Food City, knows all about encouraging wellness. His company has
been on the cutting edge by bringing the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System into
the stores so customers can know whether the food in their carts will
contribute to their health.
“It is important that healthy choices be easy choices
because they are convenient, inexpensive and tasty,” Smith said. “It is also
essential that individuals understand their health risks and the health content
of their food. As the region’s largest grocery store chain, we have a
responsibility to provide appropriate health and wellness options to our
customers. We are proud to lend our expertise and opportunities to this cause.”
For more information about LiveWell or to join this
initiative, please visit www.wellmont.org.