Community Profile: Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee
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“NASHVILLE IS MAKING GREAT STRIDES IN BECOMING A HEALTHIER PLACE TO LIVE AND RAISE A FAMILY. MANY IN THE COMMUNITY ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE CHANGES, AND THE EXCITEMENT HAS SPARKED A RENEWED COMMITMENT TO CONTINUE TO WORK TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF THEIR COMMUNITY.”
— Ruth Stewart, MD, Vice-Chair, Board of Health, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
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“I DON'T LIKE EXERCISING BY MYSELF. AND IT'S JUST MORE FUN WHEN YOU HAVE PEOPLE WITH YOU. IT IS A GOOD IDEA THE MAYOR CAME UP WITH BECAUSE THIS IS THE ENCOURAGEMENT A LOT OF PEOPLE NEED.”
— Kathy, Nashville resident and 100 Mile Challenge participant
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is an initiative designed to make healthy living easier by promoting environmental changes at the local level. Through funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, a total of 50 communities are working to prevent obesity and tobacco use—the two leading preventable causes of death and disability.
Davidson County, Tennessee, which includes the city of Nashville, is tackling obesity throughout the community, which is home to 626,681 residents. The adult obesity rate is 24.7% with an additional 37.4% of Davidson County adults being overweight. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Nashville adolescents self-report being overweight and only 31% participate in daily physical education classes at school.
Poor diet and physical inactivity contribute to the obesity problem. In Davidson County, only 27.7% of adults meet the Federal government's guidelines for fruit and vegetable consumption, and 26.7% of adults reported no physical activity in the last 30 days.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy living is not possible. With the support of the CPPW initiative, Davidson County has implemented a variety of changes throughout the community to make healthy living easier.
To decrease the prevalence of obesity, Davidson County:
- Formalized a Complete Streets plan, ensuring safe street access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders.
- Launched the citywide public education initiative, NashVitality, to promote healthy, active, and green opportunities among Nashville residents. Promoted through a variety of media platforms, this campaign is expected to reach all Nashville residents.
- Created the School Nutrition Advisory Committee to develop creative ways to increase healthy food options in schools, which will impact approximately 76,000 students. The committee is composed of parents, school administrators, food service staff, nonprofits, and local growers.
- Raised awareness of the childhood obesity crisis by airing a one-hour program on Nashville Public Television. The program, the third episode in a series of five, titled Children's Health Crisis on childhood health, focused on obesity as a health issue and promoted strategies for healthy eating and active living. The initial airing of this episode garnered a viewership of approximately 10,000 households.
- Established guidelines that require healthy food options to be made available in Metropolitan Public Health Department meetings and vending machines. This effort will impact more than 500 employees and partners.
- Issued a challenge to residents to join the mayor in walking 100 miles in six weeks. Using Nashville parks and greenways, the mayor and 4,000 community members logged nearly 106,000 miles.
(The list above is a sample of all activities completed by the community.)
Nashville is increasing the availability of healthy food and beverage options in low-income neighborhoods. The Metropolitan Public Health Department secured the commitment of 29 corner stores to improve the offering of healthy foods and beverages in three areas defined as food deserts, an area where healthy, affordable food is difficult to obtain. The corner stores will install permanent coolers and shelving for stocking and selling fresh fruits and vegetables. This program has the potential to impact more than 97,000 culturally diverse residents.
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors, who have the combined resources and capacity to make healthy living easier. Members of Davidson County's leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations:
- Office of the Mayor, Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County
- Livability Committee
- Meharry Medical College
- Metro Board of Zoning Appeals
- Metro Nashville Public Schools
- Metropolitan Council, Nashville and Davidson County
- Metropolitan Public Health Department
- Nashville Chamber of Commerce Public Benefit Foundation
- Nashville Health Care Council
- Page last reviewed: October 25, 2013
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