Manatee County, Florida(Partner: National Association of County and City Health Officials)
Our Mission: To promote healthy lifestyles for every generation in Manatee County by fostering increased physical activity, good nutrition and tobacco-free living through community education and changes in systems and policy.
About Manatee County: Manatee County is located on Florida’s sunny southwestern shore, and is considered to be part of the Tampa Bay area. According to 2010 population estimates, the county is home to approximately 319,724. The total area of Manatee County is 893 square miles (741 land and 152 square miles of water), making our population density approximately 358 people per square mile. Our racial and ethnic composition is 88.7 percent Caucasian, 9.6 percent Black/African American and 1.8 percent other races. 15.5 percent among all races are identified as being of Hispanic/Latino origin. Approximately 20.4 percent of the population is less than 18 years of age and 22.7 percent are 65 years of age or older; the remaining 56.8 percent is 18 to 64 years of age, with nearly 48 percent or 86,785 people between the ages of 45 and 64. Men and women are fairly evenly distributed, at 48.8 percent and 51.2 percent respectively. Bradenton, the county seat, is thought to be the landing site for the De Soto Expedition of 1539. The gentle manatee, or sea cow, for which our county was named still makes its home in the waterways of the area and is protected by state statute. The area is characterized by glimmering sandy beaches, aquamarine waters and gentle breezes that help to moderate our warm and sunny weather, making Manatee County a perfect spot for outdoor activities year round, and a wonderful place to institute an action plan that supports our mission statement. Despite our idyllic surroundings, when compared to others in Florida, Manatee County residents experience higher rates of death from coronary heart disease and have more adults diagnosed with asthma. Despite having a somewhat lower rate of overweight adults, the rate has steadily increased since 2002 and now represents over 50 percent of the population, and more than 25 percent of our youth are overweight or obese. Our Women Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) data suggests that as many as 41.39 percent of children aged 2-5 years are overweight or obese. According to a national survey, 76.2 percent of adults, 33 percent of middle schoolers and 40.1 percent of high school youth in Manatee County do not get sufficient physical activity to meet federal guidelines. More than 30 percent of our residents have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, and 32 percent of our adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Only 50.7 percent of high school youth reportedly received tobacco use prevention education in 2006. There are no designated tobacco-free city or county parks in Manatee County and no prohibition of tobacco use currently exists for County-owned property. We will seek to reduce the incidence and consequences of chronic disease by creatively addressing these known risk factors.