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Florida Department of Health Presents Healthy Weight Community Champions to Five Local Communities

By DOH-Polk Communications

April 05, 2017

The Florida Department of Health in Polk County invites you to join us in recognizing the City of Bartow, the City of Lakeland, the City of Mulberry, the City of Winter Haven and Polk County as Healthy Weight Community Champions. On Tuesday, April 4th, Dr. Joy Jackson, director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County, presented these five communities with the Healthy Weight Community Champion Recognition at the Board of County Commission Meeting in Bartow.

“These communities are being recognized for submitting best practices that have increased physical activity or improved nutrition in their communities, says Dr. Joy Jackson. “Florida’s county and municipal governments play an important role in decreasing the prevalence of unhealthy weight in our communities.”

Some of the best practices that have been put in place include:

  • Organization of community physical activities such as Zumba, Yoga, and other group fitness classes
  • Creation of bike trails and sidewalk networks to encourage easier transportation throughout cities
  • Promotion of local farmers markets
  • Instillation of community co-op gardens to provide healthy foods for residents

Obesity rates in the United States have dramatically increased over the last 30 years, and obesity is now an epidemic in the United States. In the state of Florida, only 36% of adults are at a healthy weight; however, in Polk County approximately 28% of adults are at a healthy weight.  This means that approximately 72% of Polk’s population is at an unhealthy weight.

The Florida Department of Health’s Healthy Weight Community Champion Recognition is part of Florida’s Healthiest Weight Florida Initiative and designed to highlight communities that have made notable efforts to improve health within their communities. In 2017, The Florida Department of Health recognized 98 communities as Healthiest Weight Community Champions state wide. Of these 98 communities, five received this recognition in Polk County.

For more information about Healthiest Weight Florida, visit