The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation has named Hernando the “Healthiest Hometown in Mississippi” for demonstrating exemplary leadership and commitment to the health of its citizens. The City of Hernando will receive a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to support its ongoing health and wellness efforts.
Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson was one of two mayors in the country invited to the White House on February 9 to help Michelle Obama kick off her “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity campaign. He has also played an integral role in the adoption of several health-related ordinances including Hernando Design Standards, a smoking ban ordinance and a Complete Streets policy. The City of Hernando has adopted an ordinance requiring helmets for all children from ages one to 17. Also, sidewalks are now required in all new residential and commercial developments, creating more walkable areas within the community.
Schools have taken a proactive approach with wellness, including a district-wide wellness policy promoting healthy lifestyles. The "Eat Right, Play More" program encourages better nutrition and physical education for students through healthier food options, extra recess time, vending machine makeovers, Safe Routes to School and more. The school district is also home to twelve Project Fit America playgrounds.
Healthy Hometowns are those that have made the most strides in creating a healthy community and have demonstrated the highest levels of commitment to a healthy culture. The recognition is designed to award and assist our leaders in making their communities a healthier place to live.
The City of Tupelo was selected as the “Healthy Hometown” in its population category (cities with a population of 15,000 or more), and will be awarded a $25,000 grant from the Foundation. Other applicants in this year’s inaugural program were Hattiesburg, Ridgeland and Starkville.
Tupelo’s health initiatives include a website dedicated to keep residents informed of upcoming events, free Fitness in Tupelo (F.I.T.) activities available to all residents, and a weight loss challenge in which participants lost more than 4,000 combined pounds. Tupelo is also home to HealthWorks!, which features interactive exhibits focused on health and fitness for children and a variety of other educational programs.
To learn more about the efforts of Hernando, Tupelo and other Healthy Hometown applicants, visit the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation website.