On Saturday, November 1, the cities of Winter Park, Eatonville and Maitland will compete for cash prizes in Healthy Central Florida’s third Mayors’ Sole Challenge to bring health and wellness activities to their cities and schools.
Whichever city brings out the most walkers to the event will receive $2,500 to support healthy initiatives in its community, and the school with the most attendees will also take home a $1,000 prize.
Obesity and diabetes is remarkably prevalent in the three cities, according to Healthy Central Florida’s 2014 research, which was highlighted by the organization’s executive director, at the Maitland Council Meeting on Monday.
Eatonville, which has brought the highest turnout the past two years, also has the highest obesity rate of the three cities, according to HCF’s 2014 research. Almost half of Eatonville’s population — 48.8 percent — is obese, and according to Healthy Central Florida’s website has a diabetes rate of 24.2 — nearly triple the national average of 8.3 percent.
Winter Park and Maitland’s obesity rates trail at 23.9 percent and 21 percent, respectively. All three cities’ obesity rates have grown significantly since HCF conducted a similar study in 2011.
Maitland will be hosting the event for the first time this year in Quinn Strong Park.
“Maitland has not been that participative in the past, but I think the momentum is growing,” said Maitland Mayor Howard Schieferdecker. “We’re all working together for our cities to be as healthy as they can be.”
That, in essence, is what HCE and events like the Mayors’ Sole Challenge are all about. Buss says that the mission of HCE is to make Central Florida the healthiest community in the nation through inspiring residents to get active, eat healthy, quit smoking and be happy.
“Life is so full of homework, practices … you name it. Our whole culture has changed,” Buss said.
With so many to-do lists, Buss says even if they know better, it’s common for people to opt for the most convenient food choices, which are often processed and unhealthy.
“Most people know what the best choice is,” Buss said. However, willpower can be weak when it’s easier to make an unhealthy choice. That’s why, Buss says, HCF works to make “the healthy choice the easy choice.”
Registration for Saturday’s event will begin at 7:30 a.m. and warm-ups, dancing and breakfast will start at 7:45 a.m. At 8:30 a.m., the walk will begin, and will last until about 9 a.m. There will be activities for all ages, including an obstacle course, face painting and a human-powered blender bike.
For more information, got to HealthyCentralFlorida.org.