Henry Ford once said, “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.”  That is definitely not the case for Jacksonville, Fla., and Mayor Alvin Brown – the 1st place winners of the large city category of the 2015 Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards.

Helping to tackle the complex issue of obesity through nutrition education, physical activity and increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables, Mayor Brown’s I'm A Star Foundation – “Let's Move Jacksonville" and "Healthy Corner Stores" – targets youth in Duval County’s Health Zone One (HZ1) in Northwest Jacksonville.  The grant will help the foundation establish two Healthy Corner Stores in existing food deserts in HZ1.

The project is designed and implemented entirely by youth.  The foundation’s student leaders partner with churches, community organizations, corner store owners and local farmers’ markets to make fresh fruits and vegetables available to HZ1 residents at a reduced cost.  A number of educational and fitness initiatives are also planned for  program participants, including workshops, youth-led childhood obesity prevention summits, year-round biking and other physical activities.

We here at Sip & Savor salute this year’s 1st place winners who are tackling obesity on-the-ground and engaging their local communities to lead balanced and active lives.  These programs show that Mayor Brown and the City of Jacksonville understand that nutrition education and physical activity are crucial to solving the complex issue of childhood obesity.