We started Vital Fitness Lakeland because we love our city and were alarmed at the lack of physical vitality within our community. The number one factor that is draining our city of its’ physical well-being is our dangerously high obesity rate. According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida’s obesity rate is actually the 15th lowest in the country at about 27%. However, Polk County’s obesity rate sits at 37%, which equals the nation’s second highest obesity percentage for all states. High obesity rates drive up the cost of healthcare, lead to higher mortality rates from an increased risk of disease and illness, and multiply the likelihood of clinical depression and anxiety.
Perhaps the most alarming statistic for Lakeland, in particular, is the link between obesity and diabetes. According to Dan Witters, the research director at Gallup’s Well-Being Index, a three percent increase in obesity rates usually correlate with a percent increase in diabetes. Since Lakeland is the most populous city of one of Florida’s highest county’s for obesity, we naturally have one of the nation’s highest rates of diabetes. Gallup’s annual research on America’s physical well-being ranked the residents of Lakeland and Winter Haven as having the ninth highest percentage of diabetes in the country out of 186 communities surveyed.
High obesity and diabetes rates not only negatively affect the physical health of residents, but the overall well-being of the community. Gallup’s study discovered that the communities with the lowest rates of diabetes “are more likely to have residents who are productive and vital based on key purpose and community well-being metrics including using strengths every day, learning or doing something interesting daily and feeling pride in their community.” The physical health of Lakeland’s residents is directly related to the vibrancy and vitality of its’ community.
While steps are being taken by the state of Florida to address Polk County’s high rates of obesity and diabetes, we believe the change our county needs can and ought to start in Lakeland. As the county’s most populous city, we should set the example for our neighbors. Although Lakeland is home to numerous commercial gyms, nutritionists and lifestyle coaches, we felt that it was lacking a facility that combined all three. That is why we opened Vital Fitness.
At Vital Fitness Lakeland, our goal is to combat the deteriorating physical health of our community by increasing the vitality of those around us. Vitality allows people to live at their highest maximum spiritual, mental and physical potential for as long as possible. We do this by providing our member’s with holistic health through access to group or personal physical training, nutrition guidance and lifestyle coaching. Our hope is that by increasing our city’s physical well-being, we can be a part of reinvigorating our resident’s pride in our city. If you share our vision, we would love to have you become part of our community.