Background and Purpose
Obesity rates in the U.S. have increased dramatically over the last 30 years, and obesity is now an epidemic in the United States. In Florida, only 33.9% of adults are at a healthy weight. The increasing prevalence of obesity is most concerning when viewed in the context of its impact on overall health. Obesity increases the risk of many serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cancer. For this reason, the Florida Department of Health is working to address obesity through the Healthiest Weight Florida initiative.
Florida’s county and municipal governments play an important role in decreasing the prevalence of unhealthy weight in their jurisdictions. Obesity and associated chronic diseases have a considerable economic impact on individuals and communities and some people are more seriously affected by factors such as the availability and accessibility of healthy food and the safety, accessibility and existence of spaces for physical activity.
In addressing this issue, the Florida Department of Health created the Healthy Community Champions Recognition Program. The Department will be recognizing municipal and county level governments statewide for taking a Health in All Policies approach to comprehensive planning and allow them to share their progress and lessons learned. Health in All Policies as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a collaborative approach that integrates and articulates health considerations into policymaking across sectors to improve the health of all communities and people. The Healthy Community Champions Recognition is now a two-year designation with opportunities to receive technical assistance to further the adoption and implementation of health in all policies.
State partners include the Florida Department of Transportation, Department of Economic Opportunity, the Department of Environmental Protection and others.
In 2018, the Florida Department of Health recognized 45 communities as Healthy Community Champions, 98 communities recognized in 2017, 80 communities recognized in 2016, 65 communities recognized in 2015, and 38 communities recognized in 2014.
Healthy Community Champions Criteria
Local governments can implement a variety of policies that have been shown to increase physical activity and improve nutrition. These “best practice” policies are reflected in the Healthy Community Champions criteria.
To learn more about the application criteria and to access resources to help you achieve the criteria, download a copy of the Healthy Community Champions Guidance and Resources document..
Florida’s municipalities (cities, towns and villages) and counties are eligible. Submissions must be made by a municipal or county official. Unincorporated areas may submit under the sponsorship of the county in which they are located.
June 10, 2019: Submission Window Opens
August 15, 2019: Submission Window Closes
November 1, 2019: Communities Recognized & Best Practices posted
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