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NEWBERRY ‒ The Florida Department of Health has recognized the City of Newberry as a 2019 Healthy Community Champion. Alachua County Department of Health’s Kortney Gallivan Oliver was on hand at the Aug. 10 Newberry City Commission meeting and said the City takes a “Health in All Policies” approach to comprehensive planning. The application for the City was submitted by Principal Planner Wendy Kinser-Maxwell. There are 33 communities statewide receiving the recognition and include Alachua County and the City of Hawthorne.

“This is the seventh year the City of Newberry has been awarded this honor,” said Oliver. She said “Health in All Policies” is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a collaborative approach that integrates and articulates health considerations into policymaking across sectors to improve the health of all communities and people.

“This recognition demonstrates the commitment that these communities have to improving the health of their residents,” said Florida Department of Health in Alachua County Administrator Paul Myers.

Obesity rates in the U.S. have increased dramatically over the last 30 years, and obesity is now an epidemic in the United States. Florida’s county and municipal governments play an important role in decreasing the prevalence of unhealthy weight in their jurisdictions.

“In Florida, only 33.9 percent of adults are at a healthy weight,” said Oliver. “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,” she said.

Oliver congratulated Newberry for its food programs, farmers market, open air produce market and recreation programs that promote fitness. 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.

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