JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Mayor Lenny Curry was joined by the U.S. surgeon general Thursday afternoon to kick off the city's health mission to promote a healthier lifestyle.
The campaign named "Journey to One" was launched on World Health Day.
Curry also announced a variety of programs to help residents improve their health through exercise, nutrition and weight loss.
“As someone who exercises daily, I know the benefits of an active lifestyle,” said Curry. “Each day, I am striving to make better health choices that improve my ability to live well. I’m on a journey, a journey to lead our city to healthier outcomes for all citizens and all communities.”
One of the initiatives, called "Mission One Million," challenges the city of Jacksonville to collectively lose one million pounds. The city also introduced "Mayorthon," which is an effort to encourage residents to walk or run at least 26.2 miles a month. And the city will begin hosting monthly walks at different parks to promote having an active lifestyle.
To jump-start the mission, a walk was held at 2:15 p.m., beginning at the Prime Osborne Center and stretching from Forsyth Street and Lee Street to Laura Street. Afterward, the project officially began at a 3 p.m. presentation at Hemming Park.
"The reason that I came here to Jacksonville is because I wanted to support the efforts of the community to address one of the greatest challenges of our time, and that’s the tsunami of chronic disease that’s washing across America," said Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, M.D., U.S. surgeon general. "Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, these are affecting more and more people and younger and younger ages. And the only way we are going to tackle that, is if we bring all parts of our community together."
Duval County was ranked 48th out of 67 counties in Florida last month when it comes to health. The project had been in the works before the findings were released, but officials are renewing their push for healthy residents.
"How do we turn this trend around? We start now and we start today. We are sounding the alarm with 'Journey to One.' The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step has been said before, and that’s how we move from 48 to No. 1. One step at a time," Curry said.
Another initiative called "Farm to Faith," was introduced earlier this year and aims to bring fresh produce to local churches located in Northwest Jacksonville.
"I’m looking forward to coming back to Jacksonville in the future when some of these programs are further along, when you’ve been able to achieve more of the dreams you’ve set out for yourself, and when you’ve succeeded as making Jacksonville one of the healthiest cities in America," Murthy said.
Here are the steps for residents to accept "Mission One Million":
- Create a personal mission. This can be anything from eating healthier to picking up a new outdoor hobby.
- To accept the challenge, post on social media using #904MissionAccepted. Don't forget to tag friends to challenge them as well.
- Share stories of success online to inspire others and track progress.