Many Hoosiers are heavy. Indiana has one of the nation’s highest rates of adult obesity, ranking 40th. A significant share of our children are also overweight or obese – Indiana’s rate of overweight and obese children is higher than that of all of our neighbor states. According to the latest research, one in three of our state’s children ages 10 to 17 are overweight, with kids of color and those living in low-income households at the greatest risk of being so. Childhood obesity is not a new issue for us, but these persistently high numbers remind us that we must stay focused on identifying and implementing healthful interventions for our kids, families and communities.
Today’s childhood obesity rate is nearly triple that of 40 years ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As a result, many children are now developing chronic health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis and sleep apnea. Obese children are also at higher risk for low self-esteem, negative body images and depression. These physical and mental health problems can also lead to increased absenteeism and decreased educational attainment.