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Ocoee named Healthy Community Champion by the Florida Department of Health

By Kent Donahue

January 17, 2020

Congratulations to the Orange County community of Ocoee for being named a 2019 Healthy Community Champion by the Florida Department of Health. Ocoee was among 33 communities to receive the honor this past year. 

Ocoee was recognized for building a sustainable community and adopting planning and urban design best practices. These efforts will increase community connectivity, provide for different modes of travel, and increase access to facilities, services, and activities to improve overall health, physical activity and social interaction. The city is in the process of updating its parks, which includes the addition of interactive and stimulating play equipment and assessing bicycle and pedestrian connectivity to parks. Another highlight was Ocoee’s on-site health clinic that provides city employees with easy access to wellness facilities and services.

“We congratulate the City of Ocoee for being named a Healthy Community Champion,” said Dr. Raul Pino, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. “Ocoee is committed to improving the lives of their residents through policies and best practices that will increase the overall health of their community. We are committed to partnering with Ocoee to promote healthy lifestyles and empowering the residents to improve their health.”  

Since 2014, the Florida Department of Health has empowered communities to make policy, system and environmental changes in an effort to make healthy choices practical and available to all communities. Florida’s county and municipal governments play an important role in improving the health of all communities and people. Local governments have implemented a variety of policies that have been shown to increase physical activity and improve nutrition in support of obesity prevention and chronic disease prevention. Local governments submitted a compilation of best practices as part of the Healthy Community Champion criteria to highlight progress that has been made in their communities to ensure Floridians live healthier lives.

 The Healthy Community Champions Recognition Program is the department’s effort to take a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach to comprehensive planning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HiAP is a collaborative approach to improving health by incorporating health considerations into decision-making across sectors and policy areas. The HiAP approach provides one way to achieve the National Prevention Strategy and Healthy People 2020 goals and enhance the potential for state, territorial, and local health departments to improve health outcomes. By implementing recommended policies, local governments can promote community environments where the healthy choice is the easier choice. 

About Healthy Community Champions

To learn more about Healthy Community Champions and for a list of the 2019 Champion Communities and best practices, please visit the Healthy Community Champions 2019 Recognition Program website.