LAKELAND, Fla. - A recent study may give people in Polk County a better reason to drop a few pounds.
Lakeland-Winter Haven was named the 7th most obese area in the country. Polk County’s obesity rate is also among the highest in Florida at 37.6-percent.
The state average is 27.2-percent.
“Lets drop some of this fat,” said Debbie Zimmerman, Wellness Manager of the Polk County School Board.
Zimmerman is one of several community leaders that formed the group, Building a Healthier Polk, to take on the obesity epidemic.
Monday morning, the group stopped by the Lakeland City Commission meeting to announce a three-year initiative.
“Right now our goal is to get every community behind us, to let them know that we’re doing something, that they have a part of this,” she said. “They can support us and provide activities for their community.”
The group plans to work with area doctors and encourage them to have a serious talk with patients about losing weight.
They are also focusing on wellness programs in the workplace that promote healthy behaviors.
“That can be as simple as providing fruit at a meeting instead of your traditional doughnuts and danishes,” she said.
They also suggest that some employers try a walking meeting, instead of a sit-down meeting.
The goal is to try to sink below the state average.
“We want people to just take it one step at a time, and our communities to do the same,” said Colleen Mangan with the Polk County Health Department. “What can we do as a community, one step at a time.”
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