Business owners looking for ways to encourage their employees to live healthier lifestyles are invited to attend a free program at Tullahoma High School on Tuesday, May 5.

Mayor Lane Curlee and the Board of Aldermen will host the Healthier Tennessee Small Starts @Work Employer Workshop in the Thoma Lecture Hall at THS from 11:45 to 1 p.m.

The purpose of the presentation is to provide employers with information that encourages them to sign up for the Small Starts@Work wellness toolkit. Small Starts @Work helps employers motivate employees to move more, eat healthier and to quit tobaccos use.

“A workplace wellness program can make a significant impact on the quality of life for employees and their families,” said Curlee. “Employers are in a powerful position to help employees make everyday changes to eat healthier, be more physically active and quit tobacco use.”

On March 11, Gov. Bill Haslam was joined by Curlee at the State Capitol to announce the launch of Healthier Tennessee Communities, and Tullahoma was named a pilot Healthier Tennessee Community. Healthier Tennessee Communities is a coordinated initiative supporting physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco abstinence at the local level.

The CEO of The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, Rick Johnson, will speak at the workshop. Following his comments, the foundation’s community relations director, Jennings Ragan, will provide an overview of the Small Starts program, including how to sign up. Participants are encouraged to bring their devices so that they can follow along and register their business during her presentation.

“A healthy workplace is good for employees, for business, and for Tennessee,” Johnson said. “Implementing an effective workplace wellness program doesn’t have to be costly, and it can significantly improve employee health, satisfaction, and productivity, and reduce absenteeism. Everyone benefits.”

Tennessee consistently ranks among the least healthy states in the nation. One in four adult Tennesseans smokes and one in five high school students uses tobacco. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are at near epidemic levels, and approximately 34 percent of Tennesseans are overweight and another 31 percent are obese. The resulting health crisis is estimated to cost more than $6 billion every year in Tennessee and that leads to a diminished quality of life. To address this problem, the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, through its Healthier Tennessee initiative, has created a free, easy-to-use, online workplace wellness tool for employers called Small Starts @ Work. It provides employers with tips, ideas and actions to help employees get healthier together. It is simple to use and can be adapted for businesses and organizations of all sizes.

The broader implementation of wellness programs can both improve employee health and reduce the cost of doing business or operating an organization. Data from several rigorous studies show that employers save an average of $6 for every $1 spent on wellness.

“Research has shown that we are much more likely to change our health-related behavior and establish healthy habits when we are encouraged and supported by others – when we are in community,” Johnson said. “That’s why making health and wellness an integral part of life where you live – and with the people who surround you – can make such a positive difference.”

The free toolkit, available at, program provides employers with tools to help employees get healthier together.

To reserve a seat at the program, email


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