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Penney Farms receives Healthiest Weight award

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – For the second time, the Florida Department of Health has recognized the Town of Penney Farms for being a healthy, active community. Town officials were recognized publicly at the Feb. 23 meeting of the Clay Board of County Commissioners as a 2016 Healthy Weight Community Champion, one of 80 honorees this year.

The recognition program highlights local government efforts to increase physical activity and improve nutrition as part of Healthiest Weight Florida. David Cooper, Penney Farms town manager, accepted the town’s award from Clay County Health Officer Heather Huffman.

“We encourage our communities, municipalities and Clay County to follow the example of the Town of Penney Farms and apply for the Healthy Weight Community Champion award in 2017,” Huffman said.

“By working toward creating healthy environments, these local governments have shown their commitment to improving the health of all Floridians,” said John Armstrong, M.D., Florida Surgeon General and secretary of health. “We are proud to see the number of recognized communities growing steadily each year.”

Local governments can implement a variety of policies that help people become more physically active and encourage better nutrition. These “best practice” policies are reflected in the Healthy Weight Community Champion Recognition Program.

Examples of criteria for the recognition include whether a jurisdiction maintains a system of parks, provides incentive programs to attract grocery stores to under-served neighborhoods and prioritizes personal safety in areas where people can increase physical activity.

The Penney Farms program includes several walk-a-thons that take place in town, as well as the town maintaining a passive park of approximately 2.5 acres with pedestrian pathways though the woodlands.

“The Town of Penney Farms has achieved a tremendous community accomplishment in being recognized as a Healthy Weight Community Champion for the second year in a row,” said David J. Cooper, town manager. “Our commitment to incorporating more opportunities for health and physical activity is a priority in Penney Farms, and our work is paying off.”