Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Spreads Get Healthy Kentucky Message in Perry County

Press Release Date:  Thursday, March 29, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Gwenda Bond

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher visited Perry County Central High School today to spread the Get Healthy Kentucky message to Kentucky teenagers – get serious about physical activity and nutrition and say no to tobacco.

Following this advice is key to healthy living and ensuring a good quality of life well into adulthood, the Governor told students and staff, city and county officials, school board members and health board members. After the governor’s presentation, audience members shared thoughts and questions about Get Healthy Kentucky.

“As a physician, I understand the importance of prevention,” Governor Fletcher said. “We’ve been aggressively working to change the health of Kentuckians through targeted initiatives that emphasize prevention – the core of Get Healthy Kentucky. I want all Kentuckians to have the best possible quality of life, particularly our young people.”

Major Tim Cory, who serves as the JROTC instructor at Perry County Central High School, received an award at the event for contributions to the health of his community. Cory was recognized for promoting fitness in his classes, his cross country team, wrestling team and other school activities. He encourages students to remain fit and make healthy lifestyle choices.

“We are seeking out people like Tim Cory all over Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher. “We could not do this without the support of those who share our passion for making positive changes in the health of Kentuckians.”

Get Healthy Kentucky is a statewide wellness initiative that incorporates physical activity, nutrition, tobacco cessation and prevention components. GHK offers individuals and groups a one-stop, central location for information and resources to help Kentuckians prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease and enjoy a better quality of life.

GHK is designed for all ages and includes access to reliable, unbiased information on a GHK 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 Cabinet for 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, 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 some recent accomplishments:

  • A smoking cessation benefit in public employees’ health plans and Medicaid.
  • An increased number of no-smoking policies, including smoke-free state government buildings and 13 city/county ordinances across the state that prohibit smoking in most public facilities.
  • Expanded newborn metabolic screenings, increasing from four to 29 the number of screenings which test for metabolic disorders.
  • The creation of diabetes Centers of Excellence in six areas in Kentucky. They 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.
  • Infrastructure improvement grants awarded to 26 health departments across Kentucky, totaling $10 million.
  • Recent changes to school nutrition programs. The changes resulted in Kentucky receiving an A-minus on a national report card measuring the quality of nutrition in schools.
  • 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 all Kentuckians have shown – to improving the health status of our commonwealth,” said Governor Fletcher. “Now, 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.”

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.

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