Healthier communities start here

Working together, we can support a healthier Tennessee. We’ve put together these resources to help you start conversations about health in your faith-based organizations and community groups.

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A Community Toolkit just for you

Select a topic below. You can use it in your newsletters, bulletins, website or social media. They’re perfect for sermons, programs and other activities. We also offer a list of local resources that may help some of your members.

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Health Focus Messages

Staying Healthy

Stay Active and Stay Well
Regular physical activity improves your overall health and fitness. It also lowers your risk for many health problems. Kids age 6 and up need an hour of activity a day. Most adults need 2 ½ hours a week. Learn more

A Walk Is Good for Body and Soul
Do you need some time for reflection or meditation? How about taking a walk? It's good for your body and can clear your mind for positive thoughts.

Choosing Healthy Foods
Are you interested in making healthier food choices? There's help on the web. The United States Department of Agriculture provides Supertracker — a free and easy tool to help you compare foods and keep up with what you're eating. Learn more

Stop Smoking Now
The best time to stop smoking is now. There's help on the web at or Your provider can help too. Become a quitter today.

What Smoking Costs
Wouldn't you love to have an extra $200 a month? An average pack of cigarettes costs $6.28. Over a year, that's $2400. That's money you could save or spend in other ways. Get free help to quit at or or from your provider. Quit now and start saving.

Losing 5 Percent of Your Weight Is a Big Win for Your Health
Just a 5% weight loss can be a big deal. If you weigh 175 pounds, that's a little under 9 pounds. That loss can improve your blood pressure, cholesterol, joint pain and sleep. Find out more

Regular Checkups Help You Stay Healthy
When was the last time you or your child had a checkup? Most experts recommend an exam every year — even if you're healthy. It's the best way to spot small problems early. And it's great for your peace of mind.

Child, Adolescent and Teen Health

Help your child or teen grow up healthy
The early years of a child's life are important to their health and development. Most kids and teens need to see a provider every year for a checkup. The provider will check for normal growth, good mental health and give immunizations needed. They can also find and treat small problems early, before they become big problems. If your child is overdue for a checkup, make one today! Learn more

Vaccines protect from deadly diseases
Did you know that once-common diseases like pertussis, mumps and measles are very rare in the U.S. today? That's because vaccines have had a huge impact on the health of our children. Most children get vaccines that protect them against 16 serious, sometimes deadly, diseases. Is your child or teen overdue for a vaccine? It's not too late to catch up! Learn more

Being fit and active is a great way to live healthy
Every day, children and teens need at least one hour of physical activity. It can help you have a healthy heart, strong bones and a healthy weight. And it can ease the feeling of depression. You don't have to be a star athlete to get fit. Find activities you love that get your heart beating fast and your lungs breathing deeply. Hiking, skateboarding, dancing, bicycle riding and playing ball are great ways to get moving. Learn more

Build a healthy eating style
Kids and teens need a good balance of nutrition to keep them healthy as they grow. It's no secret fruits and veggies are key to a healthy plate. But the bad things like saturated fats, sodium and sugar are filling most of our plates. The good news: You can find variety, eat the foods you like and still keep a healthy balance. Get information, tools and tips to clean up your plate and find your healthy eating style. Learn more

Mental illnesses can be treated
Children and teens face many struggles growing up. But some problems need the help of a trusted adult or health care professional. If you feel anxious, worried, depressed or suicidal, know that these problems can be treated. Find help from an adult you trust. Or text The Crisis Text Line: 741741 741741 Or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you're thinking of harming yourself. Learn more

Women's Health

How to take care of your health
Women, your health is as important as you are. One of the best ways you can take care of yourself is by getting the checkups and tests you need. Like mammograms and pap tests. Talk to your provider. Together, you can decide what tests and care you need to be at your best health. Learn more

Regular mammograms: your best chance of beating breast cancer
Many women worry about their risk of getting breast cancer. It's true, breast cancer is serious and sometimes deadly. But here's the good news: It's treatable and often beatable. The key is finding it early with a mammogram. Are you due for your next mammogram? Schedule one today. Learn more

What exactly is a mammogram?
Mammograms are x-rays used to find breast cancer. Most women should have their first mammogram between ages 35 and 40. Then your provider can tell you how often to get mammograms based on your health and family history. Don't put off this life-saving test. Talk to your provider about scheduling one today. Learn more

Life-saving test can detect and prevent cancer in women
Pap tests are used to look for changes in the cells that can lead to cancer and other issues in women. If you're a woman between the ages of 21 and 65, you need regular pap tests. Your provider can tell you just how often, based on your health and family history. Are you due for your next Pap test? Talk to your provider about scheduling one today. Learn more

Women need more than a yearly physical
A well-woman exam is more than just your yearly physical. It's done by a special provider just for women who looks for problems that only affect women. Like breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. It's also a safe place to talk about issues that may be difficult or embarrassing to talk about with family or friends. Talk to your provider about scheduling your well-woman exam today.

Maternity Care

Prepare for pregnancy
According to the March of Dimes, you can prepare for a healthy baby even before you're expecting. See your provider to spot any possible health issues. Follow their advice on healthy eating and exercise. There's more information about preparing for pregnancy

See your provider regularly during pregnancy
Chances are you'll have a healthy pregnancy. But during regular prenatal visits, your provider can catch any problems early. Most women agree these visits bring them peace of mind. Make an appointment as soon as you think you're pregnant. Your provider will set up a schedule.

Pregnancy, smoking, alcohol and drugs
Let's be honest. Smoking, alcohol and drugs can and will affect your unborn child. Even some prescription drugs aren't safe while you're pregnant. Be honest with your provider about all the medicines you take and all of your habits. Help is available if you need it.

Do you have your baby's car seat?
It's the law — you'll need a car seat in place in order to bring your baby home from the hospital. There are programs that offer car seats and will help you install them. Ask your provider or at your childbirth class.

After your baby is born
A lot of women feel down after their baby is born. It usually passes. But if it doesn't, you should talk to your provider right away. Postpartum depression is a real problem that can affect every part of your life. If you feel like you need help now, call the Tennessee Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 1-855-274-7471 1-855-274-7471

Breastfeeding is a healthy option
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding. Breastfed babies are better able to fight off viruses and bacteria. They have lower rates of asthma and allergies. They also have less risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Talk to your provider. You can call Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline at 1-855-4BF-MOMS (1-855-423-6667) 1-855-4BF-MOMS (1-855-423-6667)

Men's Health

Annual checkups
Have you had a checkup recently? Many of us don't visit a provider when we feel fine. But a yearly checkup can spot small problems early — when they're easier to treat. A checkup is also a good time to ask questions that you may not be able to talk about with anyone else.

Tests you may need
Your provider will advise certain tests at various points in your life. They may include screenings for blood pressure or cholesterol problems, diabetes or colon cancer. Talk to your provider about what tests are right for you. Here's a quick guide to tests and screenings.

Do you need to lose weight? First, check your Body Mass Index (BMI). You can figure your BMI. But talk to your provider before starting a diet or exercise plan. Everyone's needs are different.

Are you ready to quit smoking? It's an important step for your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths. Getting support increases your chance of success. Talk to your provider. And find free help at at or

Safety behind the wheel
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that almost twice as many men die in car crashes than women. Men are more likely to drink and drive, speed and not buckle up. Next time you take the wheel, think before you take chances.

Depression, alcohol and drugs
Depression is sometimes considered a “woman's disease”. And that may be keeping many men from seeking help. Men aren't always encouraged to talk about feelings. Their symptoms can be different from women's. Including hostile and aggressive behavior. And like women, they may turn to alcohol and drugs to try to feel better. Help is available. Both from your provider and other organizations. Do you need someone to talk to now? Call Tennessee Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 1-855-274-7471. 1-855-274-7471.

Your Family's Safety

Seatbelts save lives
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says seatbelts saved almost 14,000 lives in 2015. Wearing a seatbelt is the law in Tennessee. Put safety first and buckle up.

Need help installing a car seat?
Many agencies will help you install a car seat. Check with your local police, sheriff or emergency services. If you're not sure about age and weight laws, see the complete list

Safety at home
You can guard against accidents at home. The National Safety Council says the most common dangers include drowning, poisoning, fires and falls. In most cases, these accidents can be prevented. Find safety tips

Helmets prevent brain injury
Many adults remember when they didn't wear a helmet to bike or play sports. But we also didn't have all the facts about brain injuries. According to the National Safety Council, every three minutes a child in the U.S. is treated for a sports-related concussion. Wearing helmets that fit can help reduce that number. Find more info

When your teen starts to drive
It's not easy to watch your teen drive away alone for the first time. Before they go, ask them to sign a parent-teen driving agreement. It can make a difference in your teen's driving decisions. Get a copy of the agreement

You can prevent falls
According to the National Safety Council, falls are a leading cause of injury to older adults. But there's a lot we can do to prevent falls. Remove clutter, install handrails and know what medicine can make you dizzy. Find more tips

Medicine safety
We're lucky to have medicine to treat diseases and prevent future problems. But it works best when you take the right dose at the right time. Remember to talk to your provider before stopping or changing medicine. Get refills on time. And never share medicine. Store it safely too. Pain medicine and other prescriptions can be misused by others or can harm a child or an adult if taken by accident.

Behavioral Health

Get help for mental health needs and substance use disorder
If you have mental health needs with alcohol or drugs, you may feel embarrassed. You may think you have to keep it a secret. Don't feel that way. It’s more common than you think. And there's good news: You can get help. See your provider. Learn more

Opioid crisis in Tennessee
Opioids are prescribed by providers to treat pain. You may also know these prescriptions by names like fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine or oxycodone. They provide relief. But are easy to become addicted to. Misusing them can cause harm —even death. Take opioids exactly the way your provider says to. Get rid of any leftover prescriptions the right way. And keep them safe from anyone who might misuse them. Find more information at and

The cause of depression is not weakness
Depression is a disease. It's not caused by personal weakness and is not a character flaw. When you have depression, there may be problems with activity levels in certain parts of your brain or chemicals in your brain may be out of balance. But you can get help. Learn more

Hope for mental health needs: a good support system and the help of a provider
Sometimes mental health needs can make you feel helpless and hopeless. But you're not alone. Talking with others who suffer from these conditions may help. And treatment can help you get back in control. Make an appointment with your provider to get started with a treatment plan. Learn more

Lay the foundation for your child's mental health
The first three years of life are important mentally and physically. Your touch, words and actions should let your child know they're safe. This gives them the confidence to cope with stress. Protect your child from people, places or things that can harm them. If you need help, there are many resources. Reach out to your provider, friends, family and organizations for support.

When mental health needs become an emergency
You wouldn't ignore a disease in your body, hoping it will go away. And you shouldn't ignore sickness in your mind either. If you feel you're in crisis, like you might hurt yourself or someone else, don't ignore it. Call for help right away: 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471). 1-855-CRISIS-1 (1-855-274-7471). Learn more


Live well with diabetes
Diabetes is a serious illness. It can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and other health problems if it's not controlled. But diabetes doesn't have to take over your life. Small changes can make a big difference in being a healthier, happier you. Find out how

Being active has its benefits
If you have diabetes, being active can help you control your blood glucose, weight and blood pressure. It also boosts “good cholesterol” and lowers “bad cholesterol”. How much is right for you? A little every day is right for most people — start with 10 to 20 minutes and work your way up from there. Make sure your provider says it's okay for you to exercise if you've been inactive a while. Learn more

Eat right. Control diabetes.
Learning how to eat right is a good way to manage your diabetes. Try these tips: Eat smaller portions. Cut fatty foods, like fried foods, whole fat dairy and sweets like cakes, pies and candy. Eat more whole grains, like oatmeal, whole grain bread and bagels, or cereals with 100 percent whole grains. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Get more tips on what to eat and what to avoid with diabetes.

Regular tests: Your best chance of controlling diabetes
Good news if you have diabetes: You have a lot of control over how well you feel. But first, you need to know where you're starting from. Tests give you a good picture of how well you're managing your diabetes — and what you need to work on. Ask your provider how often you need an HbA1C test, a urine test for protein, a cholesterol test and blood pressure checks. The more you know, the more power you have to make changes. Learn more about preventing complications of diabetes

Take your diabetes medicine — the right way
Your provider knows best when it comes to the medicine you need to manage diabetes. Always take your medicine exactly the way your provider says — the right amount at the right time. If your medicine is making you feel bad, ask your provider about changing it. It's never a good idea to stop taking medicine without your provider's okay. It could be very bad for your long-term health. Learn more

Heart Health

Show your heart some love. It will thank you.
If you're living with heart disease, there's a lot you can do to lessen your risk of problems like heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. The key is to protect your heart from damage. Try these tips: Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise and take all your medicine exactly how your provider told you to. Learn more

Exercising for a healthy heart
For most people with heart disease, exercise can lower your chance of a heart attack. But talk to your provider before starting if you haven't been active for a while. Try starting with light to moderate activity most days of the week. Some ideas are walking, cycling and jogging. Take it easy at first and build up as you get stronger. Get tips for starting an exercise program

Heart-healthy eating
A heart-healthy eating plan is full of foods that can lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Here are a few simple ideas. Eat more fruits and vegetables and other high-fiber foods. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and trans-fat. Limit sodium, alcohol and added sugar. Get recipes and tips on what to eat for good heart health.

Medicines can treat heart disease
Your provider knows best when it comes to the medicine you need to manage heart problems. Always take your medicine exactly the way the provider says — the right amount at the right time. If your medicine is making you feel bad, ask your provider about changing it. It's never a good idea to stop taking medicine without your provider's okay. It could be very bad for your long-term health. Get more tips on living well with heart disease.

How often to test your cholesterol and blood pressure
Good news for heart patients: There's a lot you can do to protect your heart from damage. But first, you need to know where you're starting. Getting your cholesterol and blood pressure checked often helps you know what you need to work on. Ask your provider how often you need cholesterol and blood pressure checks. The more you know, the more power you have to make changes. Learn more


Asthma is common and can be serious
More than 25 million people are known to have asthma in the U.S — 7 million of them children. Making an asthma action plan with your provider can be the difference in breathing easy. Or even saving your or your child's life. Learn more

Choose the right combination of asthma medicines
With the medicines now available, it's easier than ever to live well with asthma. Most of the time both long-term and quick-relief medicines are needed. Work with your provider to choose what medicines are right for you or your child.

Children and asthma
There's no reason why asthma should hold your child back. The goal is breathing well and doing what they enjoy. Make sure your child's school or caregivers have everything needed to keep them on track. That includes their medicine, instructions on when and how to take them and written permission from you to use the medicine.

Smoking and asthma
Everyone knows smoking is unhealthy. It can be deadly for someone with asthma. Just being around a smoker is harmful. Children with asthma who live with smokers have more flare-ups, visit the emergency room more often and have trouble with asthma control. Get free help to quit from the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine. Visit or call 1-800-784-8669. 1-800-784-8669.

Do you know your asthma triggers?
Your asthma attacks may be caused by allergies to dust, smoke, mold, pets, food, pollen, pollution or other irritants. These are your triggers. Some of them you can avoid. But others you can't. Stay prepared for an asthma attack with your quick-acting medicine on hand.

What causes asthma?
Asthma may run in families. Or it can just develop. It's more common for African Americans and Hispanic individuals. But for everyone with asthma, the treatment is the same — avoid triggers and take the right medicine at the right time.

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