The Florida Department of Health (DOH) recently recognized 46 communities as 2018 Healthy Community Champions. This is the third year in a row that Clermont has earned this designation and the only Lake County city to do so this year.

DOH Administrator Aaron Kissler and representatives of his department gathered at the Splash Park at Waterfront Park to present the state’s 2018 Healthy Community Champions award to the City of Clermont.

Mayor Gail Ash accepted the award as City Council members Diane Travis and Tim Bates, City Manager Darren Gray, Events Director Scott Davidoff, and Fire Chief Carle Bishop proudly looked on.

Local Florida governments have implemented a variety of policies that have been shown to increase physical activity and improve nutrition. Between February and April 2018, local governments were invited to submit best practices to demonstrate how they met the Healthy Community Champion criteria.

“I am pleased to recognize local communities who have shown a special commitment to improving the health of their residents,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. “Their efforts to implement policies that empower residents and visitors to improve their health are an important part of creating healthy environments throughout Florida.”

The Healthy Community Champions provides an opportunity to highlight local governments that have focused on improving the built environment. The department defines the Built Environment as the places where people live, work and play (e.g., homes, buildings, streets, open spaces and infrastructure), food environments (e.g., supermarkets, corner stores, farmer’s markets and food pantries), and other environmental influences (e.g., indoor/outdoor air and water quality, noise pollution and environmental toxins).

A greater level of social connectedness can be experienced when communities work to implement policies within the built environment. As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social connectedness is achieved through strong formal relationships between organizations and support services designed to help better ensure that services are delivered and promote a person’s sense of well-being.