With obesity directly linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes which are major causes of death and preventable hospital stays, the startling statistic galvanized a movement among stakeholders across Polk County. Working cooperatively with the Florida Department of Health, Polk Vision convened a large cross-sector group of subject matter experts to prioritize objectives in addressing the alarming rate of obesity in our community. This group came to be known as Building a Healthier Polk and has been working to develop healthy habits and behaviors in key settings across our community.

Currently, three Building a Healthier Polk Teams are built on objectives targeting School Health, Primary  Care Physicians, and Worksite Wellness.

The importance of having each of these Teams focused on promoting a united message cannot be overstated. Common language and central communication is essential to keeping these cross-sector professionals aligned as they work towards the long-term goal of improving the healthy weight rate in our community.

Reducing obesity rates and increasing the healthy weight rate of our citizens is a long-term effort. The  Building a Healthier Polk Teams are committed to reducing the obesity (BMI >30) rate in Polk County to less than the state average (36.9% to 26.4% in 2013). The Florida Department of Health in Polk County includes the work of these Teams into its 2016-2020 Community Health Improvement Plan.



Picture Of Health Episode 13 Featuring Polk Vision 

Building a Healthier Polk LEAD Panel Discussion:



               Click on image to view Building a Healthier Polk 3 Year Summary Report 



Building a Healthier Polk 


Adrienne Adcock                               Marcia Andresen 

Everest University - Lakeland              Board of County Commissioners

Kelly Andrews                                    Liz Antaya

Florida Southern College                     Stahl & Associates Insurance 

Lyndy Armstrong                               Cauney Bamberg 

Southeastern University                       Watson Clinic Foundation 

Sandy Bates                                       Paula Blackwelder

My Health Coach, Inc                          Team Beach Body 

Penny Borgia                                     Nicole Brasseur

United Way of Cental Florida               Florida Department of Health 

Judy E. Buss                                      Lisa Callahan

Health Columnist                                 Winter Haven Hospital 

Ermelinda Centeno                            Ulyee Choe 

Central Florida Health Care                 Florida Department of Health 

Alice Collins                                      Sheryl Cooper

YMCA of West Central Florida            Florida Department of Health 

Deanna Deforest                               Barbara Donley

BodySong Wellness                            Watson Clinic

Suzanne Durden                               Tammy Durden

Florida Department of Health              Florida Department of Health 

Abby Elias                                         Tonya Enos

Florida Southern College                    Florida Department of Health 

Kim Eubanks                                     Carly T. Evans 

Polk Health Care Plan                         Everest University - Lakeland

Megan Fain                                       Joan Fitchett

Community Leader                             Watson Clinic

Taylor Freeman                                 Carol Fox

Florida Department of Health             Lakeand Regional Health 

Whitney Fung                                   Peggy Carrett 

Polk Indigent HealthCare                   Watson Clinic Foundation

Beth Geohagan                                Daniel Haight

BeFly Bike Tours                                Lakeland Regional Health

Schatzie Haines                               Cathy Hatch

Lanier Upshaw                                   Community Leader

Linda Hawbaker                               Don Hicks

Florida Department of Health             Team Beach Body 

Jill Hoagland                                    Carol Hughes

Florida Department of Health            Grace Wellness

Joy Jackson                                    Corlis Johnson

Florida Department of Health            My Natures Delight 

Joy Johnson                                   Jenna Kaczmarski

Polk Health Care Plan                       Polk County School District 

Audrey Kelley                                  Cherie Kercher

Polk County School District               YMCA of West Central Florida 

Rachel Kilburn                                Susan Kistler

Better Bladder Center                       Florida Department of Health 

Collette Lawson                              Diane Longstreet 

The Health Councils, Inc                   Keiser University

Colleen Mangan                              Michael McElveen

Florida Department of Health            Florida Southern College 

Paula McGhee                                 Leah Millet 

Polk Health Care Plan                       Baycare Health Systems 

Jamie Moore                                    Karen Moore

Lake Wales Care Center                   Peace River Center 

Andy Orrell                                      Andy Palmer

Board of County Commissioners      City of Winter Haven 

Joy Pedersen                                  Rick Perez

Holistic Chamber of Commerce       City of Lakeland 

Emily Plank                                     Debbie Prescott

InnerAct Alliance                              Florida Prosperity Partnership 

Christine Reddy                             Ryan Reis

Watson Clinic                                   Keiser University - Lakeland 

Chris Richard                                 Sara Roberts

Rich Kids Project                              Polk Vision 

Garrett Robinson                           Emily Rogers

Vemma                                            Emily Rogers Coaching 

Kim Rose                                       Teri Saunders

Team Beach Body                           Heartland for Children 

Lisa Schlagel                                 Lauren Shinholster

Winter Haven Hospital                     Safe Routes to School 

Scott Sjoblom                                Laurel Smith

Florida Departement of Health        Polk State College 

Adam Stephens                             Patty Strickland

YMCA of West Central Florida        Community Leader 

Stefania Sweet                               Brenda Taguri

Florida Department of Health          Polk County School District  

Amy Taylor                                     Michele Taylor 

Lakeland Regional Health               Lets Move Health and Fitness, Inc.

Sara Terrell                                     Julia Thillet

Florida Southern College                 All Children's Hospital 

Cathy Thornhill                              Holly Vida 

Chat & Chew                                    Citizens' Oversight Committee 

Nat West                                         Tom Wodrich

Community Leader                          Board of County Commissioners 

Beverly Williams - Kerr                  Dana Wing - Reed

Chat & Chew/ Florence Villa            Student 

Kathleen Wright                            Suzanne Wright 

Polk County School District             Florida Deoartment of Health 

Tammy Wright                               Debbie Zimmerman

Community Leader                         Polk County School District