First Lady Glenna Fletcher's Communications Office
First Lady Glenna Fletcher Brings ‘Get Healthy’ Message to Lexington

Press Release Date:  Thursday, June 21, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Promotes statewide wellness initiative, presents awards

FRANKFORT, Ky. – First Lady Glenna Fletcher was in Lexington today to promote Get Healthy Kentucky, a statewide wellness initiative aimed at educating Kentuckians about the values of leading healthy lives.  The program emphasizes overall wellness by stressing the importance of physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation. 

Get Healthy Kentucky was created by Governor Ernie Fletcher and launched earlier this year, to help reverse Kentucky’s negative trends of poor health status and skyrocketing health care costs.

“It’s possible to live well and feel good every day, but it takes a commitment and the right lifestyle,” said Mrs. Fletcher. “With Get Healthy Kentucky, we have been able to structure our resources to better inform the public and form a plan to change the wellness culture of our state.”

During her presentation to Commerce Lexington, the First Lady presented several awards to people, organizations and agencies that have contributed to improving the health of their communities. Award winners included:

  • Kentucky Rails to Trails Council, which aims to preserve greenways and railroad rights of way in Kentucky for the use of the general public for cycling and walking trails.
  • Urban County Councilman Jay McChord, who has helped create “The HealthWay,” a trail that will eventually tie together several parks, major retail areas, neighborhoods and schools and allow for commuter bike and pedestrian traffic from the Jessamine County line to St. Joseph's Hospital or the University of Kentucky.
  • Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, whose leaders have worked on multiple projects to improve the health of the community, including a proposal to invest in a trail system for Fayette County and support for Yellow Bikes, a community-sponsored, all-volunteer program that provides bicycles to residents, workers and visitors in and around downtown Lexington.
  • YMCA of Central Kentucky, which is addressing health issues by supporting such local projects as Lexington on the Move, Yellow Bikes and HealthWays.

“We are seeking out people and organizations all over Kentucky who share our excitement in spreading the ‘Get Healthy’ message,” said Mrs. Fletcher. “We could not do this without the support of those who share our goal to make positive changes in the health of Kentuckians.”

Get Healthy Kentucky incorporates physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation and prevention components. The initiative has created an opportunity for individuals and groups to have a one-stop, central location for information and resources that will improve the quality of life for Kentuckians and help prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

Get Healthy Kentucky is designed for residents of all ages and includes access to reliable, unbiased information on the program’s Web site, The site provides information about the Governor’s Challenge program, an incentive-based fitness program designed to help participants set personal fitness goals and track progress online.

“As a whole, Kentucky has work to do to improve our health,” said Health and Family Services Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell. “The Fletcher administration not only understands what has to be done to reverse these negative health trends, but also has created this comprehensive, motivational program where people can get all the tools and information they need to ‘Get Healthy.’”

Kentuckians have long battled high rates of obesity, physical inactivity and tobacco use. However, the First Lady said, things have started to change.

Recent accomplishments include:

  • A smoking cessation benefit in public employees’ health plans and Medicaid.
  • Smoke-free state government buildings and 13 city/county ordinances across the state that prohibit smoking in most public facilities.
  • Increasing from four to 29 the number of screenings given to newborns for metabolic disorders.
  • Creation of six diabetes Centers of Excellence, which will link patients with local health departments, health educators, hospitals and other resources in their community to provider better disease management for those living with diabetes.
  • Improved health department facilities through infrastructure improvement grants awarded to 26 health departments across Kentucky, totaling $10 million.
  • Improvements in school nutrition programs, bringing Kentucky an A-minus – highest grade in the nation – on the national School Foods Report Card issued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
  • An increased commitment to preventing a bioterrorism attack. Kentucky is now ranked third in the nation for bioterrorism preparedness.

“The Governor and I are constantly working on new programs and initiatives that reach people suffering from chronic disease like diabetes, cancer and heart disease,” said Mrs. Fletcher. “Because of the devastating effects of these diseases on our people and our state, we must do all we can through programs like Get Healthy Kentucky to prevent them before they strike.”

For more information about Get Healthy Kentucky or to participate in the Governor’s Challenge, visit The Web site contains information to help Kentuckians lead healthier, more active lifestyles and information on incentives to motivate Kentuckians to continue to challenge themselves.

Governor Fletcher has traveled the state promoting Get Healthy Kentucky, stopping in Owensboro, Paintsville, Ashland, Elizabethtown, Louisville, Owsley County, Hazard, Hyden, northern Kentucky, Pikeville and Danville.