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Marion County announces health improvement plan after low overall ranking

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Marion County and more than 50 local partners revealed their Community Health Improvement Plan Jan. 14 in order to increase the overall health of its residents.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s website for county health reports, Marion County is currently ranked 48th in overall health out of 67 Florida counties.

Marion County’s health department is looking into the current availability of healthy foods and community services, such as parks and exercise facilities in the county, said Craig Ackerman, Marion County Health Department spokesman.

Ackerman said Marion County ranks well in access to clinical care, yet consistently ranks low on health outcomes.

“In March, Robert Wood Johnson will produce the 2013 rankings, and we will see how we look then,” he said.

Ackerman said the Community Health Improvement Plan is a step in a long process.

“We have been evaluating the health in the community for some time,” he said.

According to the press release, this plan is part of a yearlong effort aimed at addressing health problems in the area.

One of the goals for the plan, Ackerman said, is to create a community partnership that ensures there are places to exercise and walk, but people also have a grocery store that offers a wide variety of healthy foods.

Ackerman said the plan is targeted at both old and young people in the area.

The plan will be presented at the United Way of Marion County annual meeting that many of the community leaders will attend.

 Alexa Volland wrote this story online.

About Kelsey Meany

Kelsey is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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