Message from Mayor Lenny Curry

Dear Citizens:

I care about our city, and feel an awesome responsibility to lead with the interest of all citizens as my guide. As someone who exercises daily, I know the benefits of an active lifestyle. As mayor, I know the benefits of a healthy community. In fact, research tells us that the health of a city is defined by the well-being of its citizens. 
 

Out of 67 counties across the state, Jacksonville is ranked number 55 for quality health outcomes (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). This is unacceptable, leading me to sound the alarm with Journey to One, a citywide campaign I'm launching to improve our health. Each one of us shares a responsibility. There's work we must do as individuals to improve our personal health, and there's work we must do as city leaders to improve our community health. Both are integral to our mission of ensuring that every citizen in every zip code lives well. With Journey to One, we commit to building, and strengthening partnerships that promote nutrition, exercise, walkability, weight loss, disease prevention, and safety in all communities. Throughout the planning of the campaign, we met with a great number of partners leading and conducting outstanding work to improve the health of our citizens and communities.  They provided valuable feedback that contributed to the first set of priorities we’ve identified for Journey to One.

Improving from 55 to number one is no small task; with the support and resources of these partners, we will succeed with the Journey to One.

Sincerely,
Lenny Curry
Mayor

New County Health Rankings Released

The 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool has been released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. These rankings use data related to physical environments, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care.

These rankings give a snapshot of the health of counties across the country and they emphasize that health is not a singular effort but a combined work of multiple community partners.

In Duval County, the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) identifies community specific focus areas for improved health that have been chosen by members of the community. The CHIP also defines how public health system partners will work together to address health priorities. The result is a well-crafted roadmap to improve health outcomes that we will review and revise annually to respond to emerging challenges. The following priority areas in Duval County’s CHIP will impact our health ranking:
  • Healthy Families and Healthy Babies
  • Healthiest Weight
  • Behavioral Health
  • Access to Care
  • Health Equity 

While the county dropped to the 55th healthiest county in Florida in the study, Duval’s overall ranking for Health Factors increased from 35 to 32. Ranking for health behaviors (38 to 35) and clinical care (11 to 10) also improved.  Working with the Mayor, City Council, Flroida Department of Health and local partners, we will continue to support the implementation of projects and programs in critical areas that will have a positive impact on the overall health of our community. Read the full news release from the Florida Department of Health - Duval County


About the Journey to One

The Journey to One is a citywide health initiative to provide, strengthen and bolster initiatives that improve personal and community health throughout Jacksonville. Improving health is a journey. When faced with daily choices, people can find the process overwhelming and difficult. It is critical that we understand that each day is an opportunity to build a pattern of healthier choices. The City of Jacksonville has examined and identified some key activities and programs to assist.

Mission

Every one in every zip code lives well

Goals

  • Improve the health behavior of citizens, leading to greater outcomes in countywide health rankings
  • Increase access and availability of quality health offerings and conditions in communities throughout the city
  • Build or expand partnerships with organizations whose missions are aligned with City efforts to improve personal and community wellness

From top left, clockwise: A helmeted bicyclist; a doctor taking a patient's blood-pressure; runners crossing the Main Street Bridge during the 2016 GATE River Run; and volunteers at the first Farm to Faith produce sale.
Personal Health

With personal wellness, we’re focusing on helping citizens make better choices when it comes to exercise, nutrition, weight management, disease prevention, and mental well-being. Maintaining your mental health is just as important as staying in shape. Journey to One is working with many community health partners to help citizens take care of their mental and emotional health and well-being. 

Exercise

Research supports that exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk of many chronic conditions. In addition to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure, physical activity can also reduce the risk of depression. Running is one of the mayor’s greatest past-times, an activity that allows him the opportunity to enjoy various parts of the city and downtown Jacksonville. While all may not opt to lace up for a fast-paced run, walking is a great opportunity to get out, explore and burn some calories.

Mayorthon

Mayor Curry participating in the 2016 Gate River Run

As part of efforts to boost exercise and healthy activity, Mayor Curry is encouraging Jacksonville citizens to run or walk 26.2 miles a month with his Mayorthon.







A Walk in the Park

The City of Jacksonville is home to the nation’s largest urban park system. There are 12 parks throughout the city with distance-marked paths and trails. Each month, the City will host a walk in one of its beautiful parks.

Parks with paved walking paths:
Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail - 14.5 miles
S-Line Rail Trail - 4.5 miles
Lonnie Miller Park - 0.6 miles
Bob Hayes Sports Complex - 0.5 miles
Riverview Park - 0.2 miles
James Field Park - 0.3 miles
Ed Austin Regional Park - 1.7 miles
Drew Park - 0.5 miles
Losco Regional Park - 0.5 miles
Woodstock Park - 0.5 miles

Parks with unpaved trails with marked distances:
Losco Park Regional Park - 3.1 miles (5k)
Julington-Durbin Creek Preserve - 5k, 2 mile, 3 mile, and 5 mile marked routes

Parks with running tracks:
Mallison Park
Legends Community Center
Cuba Hunter Communuity Center
Raines High School
Landon Middle School
 

Nutrition

There are many basics to good health. Nutrition and food quality are key. Each day, people consume foods and beverages, establishing eating habits and patterns that affect their lives. An individual’s diet, alone, can be the greatest predictor of his or health and risk for chronic disease. Diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers are linked to poor nutrition. National guidelines, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), assists persons in identifying and understanding appropriate serving sizes, food groups, and calories.

To help us build and adopt healthier habits, the Florida Department of Health in Duval County has created 5-2-1-0. This statewide awareness campaign encourages citizens to daily:
  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that are important for growth and development.
  • Commit to 2 hours of screen time each day. Too much screen time puts persons at risk for obesity, poor performance and concentration difficulty. No televisions, computers, or games where you sleep.
  • Engage in 1 hour or more of physical activity. Regular physical activity promotes healthy weight.
  • Consume 0 sugary drinks. Water is the best choice.
Take the 5-2-1-0 pledge. Learn more about it and the various programs and services provided by the Department of Health in Duval County.

Weight Management

Over a quarter of adults throughout Florida are obese, leading to rates which reveal that 4 out of 5 northeast Florida counties exceed the state rate.  Duval County is no exception. In an effort to promote and encourage healthy weight and lifestyles among citizens, the Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Well-being is partnering with the Duval County Medical Society Foundation for Mission One Million. A coalition of public, private and non-profit agencies are collaborating to inform and inspire residents throughout Jacksonville to improve their eating habits, resulting in a one-million pound weight loss. 

Recognizing the risks of crash diets and fads, Mission One Million encourages citizens to make proper eating choices, engage in physical activity, establish a healthy network of support, consult with physicians, and seek balance for emotional health.

Community Health

The City shares in the responsibility of providing citizens with an environment that promotes and supports wellness. Health disparities are a cause for concern in several neighborhoods in Jacksonville. In an effort to address those disparities and ensure every one in every ZIP code lives well, Journey to One’s community health focus offers citywide resources and programs that support our collective well-being, as well as opportunities for citizens to contribute to those efforts.

Public Safety

From day to day activities, to enjoying local parks, citizens deserve to feel safe in their community. Public safety is one of the City’s top priorities. In addition to reducing instances of violence, efforts are being made to identify needs, and prioritize strategies that will improve pedestrian and bicycle safety throughout Jacksonville.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety

We’re examining ways to make the city safer for cyclists and pedestrians to increase walkability and activity in our communities. Read about the City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan process to develop policies and procedures that promote safety, connectivity, awareness and participation.

Food Deserts

Too many communities in our city lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The Department of Health calls these food deserts. Statistics suggest that there are 140,000 people in over 55,000 households who live in food deserts in Jacksonville. Limited access to supermarkets, supercenters, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food may make it harder for some Americans to eat a healthy diet.

Farm to Faith

In an effort to address food disparities in our communities, the Farm to Faith initiative, held in partnership with the Clara White Mission and White Harvest Farms, brings fresh produce to local churches located in northwest Jacksonville, a community facing a number of health-related challenges, including food deserts - a geographic area where healthy, affordable food is hard to obtain. Through Farm to Faith, fresh fruits and vegetables are available for purchase by church and community members following services. The next event will be held on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church. Read more about the event here.

Neighborhood Blight

Through the City's Blight initiative, we will continue to focus on reducing blight in our neighborhoods to build and restore neighborhood pride, and encouraging more walking and activity in our communities.

Disease Prevention

Preventative care can help prevent major illnesses down the line, which can be costly. Citizens are encouraged to "know their numbers" to help stop cardiovascular diseases by getting blood pressure screenings at their neighborhood fire stations.

Tools and Resources