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State officials pushing healthy weight initiatives

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State officials want to make sure Floridians aren't loosening their belts and packing on the pounds this fall.

The Department of Health will ramp up its healthiest weight efforts this fall, and numbers show the state is on the right track.

Jennifer Santa Cruz is trying to make exercise part of her daily routine.

"Bring up the cardio, trying to get fit," Cruz said.

That's exactly what the Department of Health wants to hear. Officials are reminding people about their Healthiest Weight Florida initiative this fall. Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong said only 36 percent of Floridians are at a healthy weight.

"What concerns me even more is that on that trend, by 2030, six out of 10 babies born could be obese or overweight before graduating high school," Armstrong said. "That's not the future anybody wants for our state."

But there's hope.  Since the program started last year, Florida has made strides in the right direction.

"We are bending the weight curve in Florida," Armstrong said. "Currently, the obesity rate in Florida is nearly 2 percentage points less than the United States. We are the healthiest weight state in the south."

Experts said the solution to the problem is an easy one. Something as simple as a five minute walk per day can help.

Dietitian Katie Snyder sees patients every day about weight loss. She replaced her chair with an exercise ball just to burn a few more calories.

"Even if you put your shoes on and you walk down to the driveway to get your mail, that's something," Snyder said.

Since the program started, Florida has moved into the top 15 for healthiest weight states in the country.

To see how Florida is doing in battling obesity, go online to www.floridacharts.com and click on Healthiest Weight.