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Belleview, Dunnellon, and Marion County Named 2017 Healthy Weight Community Champions

By The Florida Department of Health in Marion County

February 10, 2017

Ocala, Fla.— Residents have allies in their local government agencies when looking to combat weight. The Florida Department of Health has named the city of Belleview, city of Dunnellon and Marion County Board of County Commissioners as 2017 Healthy Weight Community Champions.

The Healthy Weight Community Champions program is part of the department’s efforts to help Florida’s children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living. Marion County and the cities of Belleview and Dunnellon were chosen for recognition due to their efforts to increase public recreation and access to healthier foods.

“I am pleased that the department is able to recognize the tremendous work these local governments have done to improve the health of their residents” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. Celeste Philip. “Their efforts to implement policies that empower residents and visitors to improve their health are an important part of creating healthy environments throughout Florida.”

Florida’s county and municipal governments play an important role in improving health through creating policies and programs that have been shown to increase physical activity and improve nutrition—two factors that significantly impact weight. In Florida, only 36 percent of adults are at a healthy weight. This presents a public health challenge, as obesity increases the risk of many serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

“Our community leaders are working hard to help make healthy choices the easy choice in Marion County,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Health Officer Erin Hess. “Policies and programs local governments are putting in place will help improve the health of all of Marion County’s residents.”

The Marion County Board of County Commissioners is being recognized by the department as a Healthy Weight Community Champion for the fourth consecutive year. Local farmers markets, including the “Health Happens” Farmers Market hosted by the county, provide healthy and affordable food and gardening options.

This is the second year the City of Belleview has earned the Healthy Weight Community Champion award. The city is working to improve Cherokee Park, an underutilized park in a residential neighborhood with limited recreational opportunities.

The City of Dunnellon was selected for the first time this year. Dunnellon is constructing a new park that will help connect residents to the Cross Florida Greenway trail.

The Community Champions program is part of the department’s Healthiest Weight Florida initiative. Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations and entire communities to help Florida’s children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit Marion.FloridaHealth.gov.