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A recent Harvard study concluded Jacksonville residents could save close to $40 million in health care costs annually if the city were to tax sugary drinks.

Researcher Steve Gortmaker said the tax would help cut down on obesity.

Childhood Obesity

It’s a new way to fight a serious public health problem in this country and on the First Coast: childhood obesity.

About 13 million kids and adults in this country are considered obese.

In Florida, there’s been a decrease in obesity among preschoolers.

But as kids prepare to head back to school this month many of them are, ironically, overweight but at the same time not getting access to enough healthy food like fresh produce.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Duval County health officials are launching a campaign aimed at stemming childhood obesity.

The county has had mild success reducing the rate among young kids, but the number of overweight teens — especially in the urban core — continues to climb.

David Pacey / Flickr

Out of every 10 babies born in Florida today, six are expected to become overweight or obese before graduating from high school. Projections like that have the state pushing an education initiative it calls Healthiest Weight Florida.

Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong is thanking the Mars candy company for supporting federal rules he says could help Floridians become healthier.

fruit and veggie stand
I'm A Star Foundation

Jacksonville is one of six U.S. cities receiving grants to help fight childhood obesity. The award money will go toward building healthy food stores in so-called food deserts, among other projects. 

Thursday morning, hundreds of students in hundreds of sweat bands bobbed and clapped along to “Gangnam Style” as they prepared for a 200-meter warm-up in the Carter G. Woodson Elementary auditorium.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., obesity, and "Florida Standards" are in the headlines today.

Kyle May / Flickr

TALLAHASSE, Fla. (AP) — Florida health officials are launching a new program aimed at curbing alarming obesity rates in the state.

The Clinton Foundation

Florida health officials have forecast that 60 percent of state residents will be overweight by 2030. A global group with presidential ties is trying to stop that trend.

Daniel Oines/Flickr

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A new report says that Floridians rank 12th in the nation when it comes to having a healthy weight.

According to the latest "F as in Fat" report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Florida still has a serious obesity problem. 

Although the rate decreased slightly from 26.6 percent in 2011 to 25.2 percent in 2012, researchers say the lower numbers aren't statistically significant. They call the changes a "leveling off," not a decrease.

Across the country, every state except for Arkansas had a slightly lower adult obesity rate. Researchers caution there's still a long way to go, and note people who are obese are at risk for much worse health outcomes and higher health costs. 

"The numbers were essentially flat from last year," said Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health. "That's the first time  in the 10 years we've been doing this report, and in the many years the CDC has been following theses trends, that we've seen that kind of leveling off, so that's a very hopeful sign."


Last month, the American Medical Association generated headlines by defining obesity as a disease. It's a disease that millions of Americans are battling - the Centers for Disease Control estimates a whopping 69% of Americans are overweight or obese. 

Their numbers include five Jacksonville men who are the subjects of a compelling new documentary project.