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July 29, 2013
The City of Ridgeland has been selected as Mississippi’s “Healthiest Hometown” in the fourth year of the Healthy Hometown program, presented by the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. The selection was based on the city’s application, as judged by a panel of known health and wellness champions from around the country. Ridgeland will receive a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to support ongoing community health initiatives.

Ridgeland’s community-wide efforts are supported by partnerships among schools, churches, businesses, civic organizations and local government officials. The city id home to nearly 15 miles of recreation trails, more than any other city in the state. It hosts several high profile athletic events through the year, including the Heatwave Triathlon and the Natchez Trace Century Ride. Several local churches support health and fitness programs designed to encourage regular physical activity. The city also promotes health and wellness opportunities through its website and recognizes residents who are committed to healthy living.

The City of Brookhaven was selected as a Healthy Hometown for its population category (5,001 to 14,999 residents) and the City of Starkville was selected in its population category (50,000 or more residents). Each of these communities will receive a $25,000 grant to continue their wellness efforts. The winning municipalities were announced Wednesday at the Mississippi Municipal League Annual Conference in Biloxi.

“We are extremely proud of the progress Ridgeland has made in creating a healthy community for its residents,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “Their efforts will help ensure a higher quality of life for residents and will serve as a positive example for other municipalities around the state.”

Judges for the 2013 Healthy Hometown program were Tara Costa, Season 7 finalist of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and national health advocate; Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who launched a citywide health initiative resulting in almost 50,000 citizens loosing a combined 1,000,000 pounds; and Chris Waddell, the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history and the first paraplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted.

The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi foundation established the Healthy Hometown Awards in 2010 to encourage communities to promote healthy lifestyles and to provide financial rewards to those who have demonstrated the most progress. The grants are used by the communities to further ongoing community wellness initiatives. Healthy Hometown winners are chosen based on select criteria, including having a tobacco-free ordinance, helmet laws and more.

To learn more about Healthy Hometown Awards and this year’s winners, visit the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation website at