January 29, 2009

State of Alabama
Press Release: Lt. Governor Folsom (2007-11)

Folsom launches Alabama Health Initiative

(Montgomery) On January 29, Lieutenant Governor Jim Folsom, Jr. announced a statewide health initiative aimed at encouraging Alabamians to eat better, exercise more, and live healthier.

Folsom announced the program Thursday at a news conference in Montgomery. The Lieutenant Governor’s Challenge is an incentive based exercise and nutrition program where Alabamians can set personal physical activity and nutrition goals to promote healthier living and increase their own heart health.   The Alabama program is part of a nationwide effort by the National Lieutenant Governors Association.

Montgomery physician Jefferson Underwood joined Folsom for the announcement and said he signs too many death certificates where overeating contributed to the death.

"We are just dying from eating," Underwood said.

The United States has the highest percentage of obese people in the world. Alabama, with 24 percent of adults obese, is among the top seven states in the nation. Alabama has an additional 37 percent who are overweight.  


Folsom outlined how these factors have a crucial impact on public health.   “Obesity and simply being overweight have a strong relationship to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other chronic diseases.” said Folsom, “In fact, 10 percent of Alabamians are estimated to have diabetes, the highest rate in the nation.”


According to statistics provided by the National Lieutenant Governors’ Association, 300,000 deaths per year are associated with overweight and obesity.  However, healthier living, increased exercise and a better diet can reduce the risk of heart related illness by as much as 82%.


The Lieutenant Governors’ Challenge is made possible by the participation of  the Alabama Retired State Employees’ Association, the Alabama State Employees Association, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Montgomery Area Community Wellness Coalition, Montgomery Cardiovascular Associates, Montgomery YMCA, HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living), Dr. Jefferson Underwood, and the State Employees’ Insurance Board.

Folsom said his interest in starting the program stems, in part, from being on a hunting trip with state Sen. Pat Lindsey, D-Butler, when he died from heart problems Jan. 11. The program will be spearheaded by two key members Folsom’s staff; Janet Buskey and Roy Hightower.

Participants can use a website,  www.ltgovernorschallenge.us,   to sign up for the program.  There is also a link to the program on the official website of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office www.ltgov.alabama.gov.  The website provides each person with their own individual page to record their daily activities and points.  The website also contains a list of beneficial activities, healthy eating tips, and other ways you can become more fit. 


  • For more information, visit http://ltgov.alabama.gov
  • For more state-wide press releases, click here