Healthy Kingsport recently held its 4thannual Walk for Wellness Expo where approximately 2,500 people helped Kingsport celebrate its achievement of rallying the region to not only meet, but exceed two million miles of physical activity in less than a year’s time. Individuals and teams from Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia got moving to achieve their personal fitness goals and have it count toward our collective goal, which ultimately resulted in an astonishing 6.7 million miles of physical activity from November 2017 – October 2018—well surpassing our stretch goal of two million miles.
The 6.7 million miles represents a region committed to “owning” its health and well-being through the daily tracking and logging of physical activity miles, as data was provided by community members ranging in age from kindergarten to 100 years old and representative of miles tracked by places of work, worship, and learning. Specifically, 2,500 individuals—representing 420 teams—tracked, logged, and aggregated approximately 996,000 miles in Walker Tracker—an online portal sponsored by Ballad Health, which offered 2,500 licenses free to community members.
“The Tennessee State Guard has been honored to participate in the 2 Million Mile City Challenge with Healthy Kingsport. Our soldiers were motivated to exercise more due to their involvement. The ability to track their activity daily and see personal improvements prompted them to achieve more. This enhancement in personal health helps us to complete our missions, but also has positively enriched the personal lives of dozens of our soldiers. Being able to involve their family members in reaching physical fitness goals has being quite a blessing to them,” said Major Alan W. Bagley, 3rdRegiment Tennessee State Guard.
Additionally, Healthy Kingsport partnered with businesses and organizations who already had portals or tracking systems in place to ensure their authenticated data was included in the challenge total. Ballad Health, Eastman, Domtar, Eastman Credit Union, Greater Kingsport YMCA, and those individuals who walked daily inside the Fort Henry Mall added 1.1 million miles to the effort. Kingsport City and Sullivan County Schools reported 4.5 million miles of physical activity from their students. Combined, our region tripled the amount of miles set forth in our 2 Million Mile City challenge.
Healthy Kingsport is currently working with Ballad Health and its regional partners to set our challenge goal for 2019. In the meantime, let’s keep the momentum going by logging our collective miles in either Walker Tracker, or an organizational portal. Walker Tracker can be accessed by visiting healthykingsport.org.
Challenge helps combat regional epidemics
The 2 Million Mile City challenge was issued partially in response to data from the 2017 Community Well-being Rankings by Gallup-Sharecarethat places our metropolitan statistical area (MSA)—Kingsport, Bristol, TN/VA—at #130 overall out of 186 communities reporting across the nation based on their Well-Being Index scores. For comparison purposes, Asheville, NC ranked #19 overall followed by Knoxville, TN #79, and Greensboro—High Point, NC #91.
The Community Well-being Rankingsreport analyzes how well-being varies by community and across the five elements of well-being—purpose, social, community, financial, and physical. Our MSA ranked #181 for the physical activity portion (defined as “having good health and enough energy to get things done”) of the index. Additionally, data from the 2018County Health Rankings and Roadmaps shows that Sullivan County has a physical inactivity rate of 30%. According to most recent The State of Obesity report, Tennessee ranks #11 among U.S. states with a 30.6% physical inactivity rate.
Roger Mowen, chair of the Healthy Kingsport Advisory Council shared his thoughts: “We have twin epidemics around obesity and type 2 diabetes. Those are chronic, preventable diseases that are impacting the morbidity and mortality rate in our community. What we want to do is help combat those two diseases by getting at the physical inactivity rate in our region. It’s more about changing the health landscape of our community. People live a better life, it’s good for employers, and over time we believe it will lead to an economic advantage for us.”
Kandy Childress is Healthy Kingsport’s Executive Director and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.