Today, executives from the PGA TOUR are in Jacksonville, Florida, for the launch of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative’s Blueprint for Action in Northeast Florida; an event that convenes a group of outstanding business, thought, and health leaders to discuss the work that we have done over the past year to further the health and wellness of the people of Northeast Florida. I’m excited about the potential of this special and unique convening to address real and potent issues facing the people of Florida.
The path leading us to this meeting began three years ago, when President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation first became involved in the Humana Challenge, an annual tournament held in La Quinta, California. This experience opened the door to the possibility that the PGA TOUR could work with the Clinton Foundation – seeing the Humana Challenge become a platform for healthy living, we realized the power that golf has to encourage such a lifestyle. Golf not only engages PGA TOUR players, who often walk an average of five miles per round of golf, but also the audience, who walk – and therefore exercise – with our players as they spectate. Golf invites individuals to participate in improving their own wellness and highlights the lifestyle that both athletes and spectators alike must lead, ideals that we believe could work towards addressing issues of health across the United States.
That’s why the PGA TOUR made a commitment to the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Health Matters Initiative to support the expansion of the initiative to Northeast Florida. A region with high rates of obesity (among both adults and adolescents) and physical inactivity, Northeast Florida was a community that we felt we could assist by channeling the ideals that made the Humana Challenge and make golf so great. We believe that Northeast Florida can one day be a model for communities across the country – a healthy and vibrant place where families thrive and live healthy lifestyles, and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative has been indefatigable in pursuing this ideal. By expanding its programmatic outreach into Northeast Florida to support and facilitate relationship-building amongst local stakeholders, the Health Matters Initiative has made tremendous progress in identifying and addressing prevalent health disparity gaps, preventable health outcomes, and high health care costs in the area.
We are proud of the strides that have been made to promote health and wellness in Northeast Florida, but we know that we can do more to transform the economic and social viability of this great community. We must continue to work together to innovate and broaden the impact of the work that we have already done, and I am confident that the Blueprint convening can fulfill that purpose. On behalf of the PGA TOUR, we are proud to be part of this conference and a part of this great initiative.