Initiative targets obesity in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Who says doctors and insurers are at odds?

The Florida Medical Association’s philanthropic arm has joined with its counterpart at Aetna to try to combat obesity.

The effort will include providing free continuing medical education courses and arming physicians with information about fighting obesity and supporting patient health.

Dubbed the “Healthy Living Initiative,” the FMA’s Foundation for Healthy Floridians is collaborating with the Aetna Foundation.

The initiative will provide toolkits over the next year to physicians in Tampa, Jacksonville and Tallahassee.

The toolkits are designed to help reduce incidents of chronic disease by promoting, among other things, better diets.

Only 36 percent of Floridians are at a healthy weight, and it is reported that over half of Florida’s population will be obese by 2030.

“Obesity is an epidemic in Florida. Our Healthy Living Initiative will provide the necessary tools to help physicians educate their patients about the health benefits associated with nutrition and a healthy lifestyle,” Tim Stapleton, chief executive officer of the Florida Medical Association and president of the Foundation for Healthy Floridians, said in a prepared statement Friday.

Ultimately the goal is to provide materials to 23,000 primary-care physicians in the next three years.