In 2012, the Building a Healthier Polk Initiative began as a community-driven response to the startling obesity rates in Polk County. 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 data 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.


Reducing the obesity rate and improving the physical health of our citizens will continue to be of great importance to the work of collaborative partners.  However Polk County’s 2019 Community Health Assessment ranked mental health problems including suicide as the #1 most important health problem to address in order to improve the health of the community. With a reported rise in the numbers of suicides, hospitalizations for mental disorders and self-inflicted injuries, the call for collaborative action is clear.


During the next year, Polk Vision together with the Florida Department of Health in Polk County and other key partners will begin exploring how the Building a Healthier Polk initiative can be expanded to include ways to better align supports for mental and behavioral health services in our community.


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