Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Continues to Spread the Get Healthy Kentucky Message

Press Release Date:  Monday, March 05, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Gwenda Bond

Discusses healthy lifestyles in Hyden

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher was in Hyden today to spread the Get Healthy Kentucky (GHK) message.  The Governor discussed components of GHK, a statewide wellness initiative, with Leslie County residents this morning at Mary Breckinridge Hospital.  During his presentation, Governor Fletcher linked the importance of physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation.

“The fundamental message of Get Healthy Kentucky is to encourage Kentuckians to make good choices about their health and experience the benefits of regular physical activity, a nutritious diet and not smoking.  Adopting the Get Healthy Kentucky philosophy will make a difference in the life of Kentuckians who use the program,” said Governor Fletcher.

Governor Fletcher designed GHK to improve the health status of all Kentuckians.  The Governor’s Wellness Council will administer the wellness program, which includes a Web site, where Kentuckians can join GHK. By incorporating physical activity, nutrition and tobacco cessation components, the GHK Web site offers access to information and resources about healthy living and preventing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. 

At the Web site, Kentuckians can also enroll in the Governor’s Challenge, an incentive-based fitness program designed to help participants set personal fitness goals and track their progress online.

“We want everyone to take the challenge,” said Governor Fletcher. “It’s an excellent way for Kentuckians of all ages to reach their individual fitness goals.”

“As a whole, Kentucky has work to do to improve its 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, Governor Fletcher said Monday, things have started to change.

“My administration has started addressing these problems through programs and policy decisions,” said Governor Fletcher.

Here’s a look at a few of the recent accomplishments:

  • A smoking cessation benefit in public employees’ health plans and in the state Medicaid program.
  • An increased number of anti-smoking ordinances, including smoke-free state government buildings and 13 city/county ordinances in the state that prohibit smoking in most public facilities.
  • Expanded newborn screenings, increasing the number of screenings given to newborns (which test for metabolic disorders) from four to 29.
  • The creation of diabetes Centers of Excellence in six areas in Kentucky, which will link patients with local health departments, health educators, hospitals and other resources in their community to provide better disease management for Kentuckians living with diabetes.
  • Improved health department facilities through infrastructure improvement grants awarded to 26 health departments across Kentucky, totaling $10 million.
  • Recent changes to school nutrition programs. As a result, Kentucky was the only state to receive an A-, the highest score awarded, on a national report card measuring the quality of school nutrition programs.
  • An increased commitment to preventing a bioterrorism attack. Kentucky is now ranked third in the nation for bioterrorism preparedness.

“I’m extremely proud at the progress we’ve made and the commitment many Kentuckians have shown to improving their health,” said Governor Fletcher. “Now, with Get Healthy Kentucky, we are informing the public about adopting healthy lifestyles and changing the wellness culture of our state.”

For more information about GHK 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.  For the past several months, the governor has traveled the state promoting Get Healthy Kentucky, stopping in Owensboro, Paintsville, Ashland, Elizabethtown and Louisville. The events have drawn well over 1,000 people.