Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Kicks Off ‘Get Healthy Kentucky’ in Owensboro

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, January 23, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The picture is clear for Kentucky: It’s time to get healthy.

That was the resounding message Governor Ernie Fletcher delivered today in Owensboro during a stop-off to promote the new Get Healthy Kentucky program. The Governor was greeted by dozens of local health officials, community members and enthusiastic supporters eager to learn more about the program, which is aimed at reversing trends that are keeping Kentuckians unhealthy.

“During my visit today in Owensboro, I had the opportunity to meet with members of the public and learn more about the issues and health concerns facing my fellow Kentuckians. Hopefully, they are inspired and ready to join us in our work to encourage more people to start living healthier, more active lives,” said Governor Fletcher. “It’s time to change our mindsets and start getting healthy.”

At the event, participants had the chance to learn more about the basis of Get Healthy Kentucky, which is focused on improving nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle habits of the state. Governor Fletcher also offered a glimpse of the health status of Kentucky, including: 

  • Kentucky has the highest smoking rate in the nation (27.4 percent).
  • Obesity rates have increased by 60 percent in the past 10 years; 63 percent of Kentuckians are overweight; and Kentucky ranks fifth in the nation in obesity prevalence.
  • Kentucky is second in the nation in physical inactivity.

Governor Fletcher asked audience members to adopt the Get Healthy Kentucky message into their lives – to be more physically active, eat healthier and avoid tobacco products. These small steps, coupled with awareness and a commitment to regular physical check-ups and health screenings, can make a dramatic difference in warding off chronic disease, like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“I was so pleased that nearly 80 people turned out to show their support for Get Healthy Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher, following the event at the Owensboro Community College Humanities Building. “This tells me that Kentuckians are ready to adopt the Get Healthy Kentucky message and that we’re truly on the road to becoming a healthier state.”

Governor Fletcher designed Get Healthy Kentucky as a way to reach more Kentuckians on a personal level, encouraging and educating them about the values of leading a healthy life. The initiative, which will be guided by the GHK Council, includes a Web site ( that gives an in-depth look at the GHK approach to living well, the Governor’s Challenge Program and unique incentives, awards and programs to encourage people to join GHK.

Governor Fletcher also will promote GHK in Ashland and Paintsville on Wednesday (Jan. 24), where he will present the program and answer questions from members of the public and media. Details of the events include:

Ashland, Jan. 24, 10:30 a.m., Ashland/Boyd County Health Department, 2924 Holt St., GHK Presentation and Community Health Awards
Paintsville, Jan. 24, 3 p.m., Country Music Highway Museum, GHK Presentation, Community Awards

The Get Healthy Kentucky Web site also includes a Governor’s Challenge program to engage individuals, families, businesses, schools, churches and other organizations to set and meet individualized physical activity goals. The initiative also will include the appointment of leaders across the state to the Governor’s Council on Wellness and Physical Activity, which will provide oversight of GHK.

GHK also will plan unique promotions and campaigns to increase public awareness and encourage more people to start playing an active role in their own health.