The following examples illustrate the efforts among community partners to combat childhood obesity by advocating for policy changes that offer systemic improvements in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and overall health. Most importantly, these success stories provide concrete examples of how we’re engaging families, educators, health professionals, community groups, policymakers and business leaders to make Duval County a healthy place for our children.

First Coast Worksite Wellness Council

Many working adults spend more than 50 percent of their time per week at their jobs. Research has shown that the workplace is one of the most effective settings to implement healthy change. Employees who are exposed to wellness programs at work often implement wellness activities at home, making the secondary benefits of the program a critical component to reversing the rate of obesity in the community. The First Coast Worksite Wellness Council (FCWWC) assists employers in delivering programming that employees will ultimately share with their families. Its signature event, the annual First Coast Worksite Wellness Conference, has served to foster an understanding of the importance of developing and enhancing worksite wellness programs to increase opportunities for physical activity, thus reducing obesity rates and promoting healthy habits, not only at work, but at homes throughout Jacksonville. At the most recent conference, 40 companies in northeast Florida were recognized among the “First Coast Healthiest Companies” for their comprehensive wellness programming and data analysis to accurately measure change in the workplace

 

Increased Physical Activity Through
Safer Routes to School

In 2010, middle-school students at Julia Landon College Preparatory Academy (JLCPA) located in the San Marco neighborhood worked with representatives from the City of Jacksonville Planning & Public Works Departments and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to conduct an environmental survey of the area within a one-mile radius of the school. The survey revealed missing sidewalks, deficient signage at intersections, a lack of designated cross walks and bike lanes, and unmarked school zones—all characteristics that make walking and biking to school unsafe. Children tend to be more physically active when they live in neighborhoods that are walkable as well as safe. The Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida assisted the Parent, Teacher and Student Association (PTA) in its successful quest for a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) infrastructure Application Grant, a Federal Highway Program that is administered through the FDOT. The program’s purpose is to make biking or walking to school easier, safer and more fun for children in grades K-8. The JLCPA community is now working by improving pedestrian and bicycle routes within a one- to two-mile radius of the school.