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Florida Hospital visited several local elementary schools last month to celebrate the kickoff of the American Diabetes Association’s Morning Mile program.

Florida Hospital introduced this before-school walking/running program to encourage children to start each day in an active way, reducing their risk of developing chronic diseases and helping them develop good exercise habits that will carry into adulthood.

In 2017, Florida Hospital introduced this program to Citrus Grove Elementary School in DeLand, Orange City Elementary School in Orange City, Burns Science and Technology Charter School in Oak Hill, R.J. Longstreet Elementary School in Daytona Beach, and Rymfire Elementary School in Palm Coast. This event was the second-annual kickoff celebration.

“On a national level, childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Within Florida, one in four children are overweight and at risk for developing serious health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes, asthma, and even heart failure,” said David Ottati, president and chief executive officer of Adventist Health System’s Central Florida Division-North Region, which includes the Florida Hospitals located in Volusia, Flagler and Lake counties. “As a response to this community need, Florida Hospital partnered with local schools to launch the American Diabetes Association’s Morning Mile program as a positive and healthy way for students to start their day. Not only does it help set them on a healthier track, but it also helps in the classroom. The students come to class ready to learn, and they are better able to focus.”

The Morning Mile offers a pressure-free and friendly environment, which ensures children of all ages and abilities can pursue fitness.

“As soon as the children start moving, you can hear them laughing and encouraging each other,” said Ottati. “It is uplifting when you see the children take off running, knowing that they are taking steps toward a healthier future.”

Beyond Volusia and Flagler counties, the Morning Mile is now in 350 schools in 20 states and several countries.

Florida Hospital’s parent company, Adventist Health System, has announced that it will soon change its name to AdventHealth. Based in Altamonte Springs, Adventist Health System is one of the nation’s largest faith-based health care systems, with nearly 50 hospital campuses in nine states and more than 80,000 employees.

As of Jan. 2, 2019, the Florida Hospitals in Lake, Flagler and Volusia counties will adopt the AdventHealth name and logo. This name change is not the result of a merger, acquisition or change in ownership, but part of the company’s efforts to help consumers easily identify AdventHealth’s care locations and services.

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