September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Obesity and weight gain can lead to a plethora of other health problems as kids get older, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and more. So how does Indiana compare to nationwide statistics on childhood obesity?
The truth? Not so great.
In 2018, the Indiana Youth Institute found that Indiana is ranked 9th in the country in childhood obesity. That meant Indiana kids were nearly 15% more likely to be obese than their peers nationwide. Additionally, one in three Indiana children ages 10–17 were obese—a whopping 33.9% of Hoosier children.
Though Indiana is still highly ranked for childhood obesity, these numbers have thankfully dropped in recent years. According to the State of Childhood Obesity, Indiana dropped to 24th in the country, and around 16% of children ages 10–17 were obese. However, don’t let these numbers lower your guard—far too many children in Indiana are still overweight or obese, which often leads to chronic and even life-threatening health problems.
How can you help combat childhood obesity?
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to help counteract childhood obesity. Here are just a few:
Stay active. Encourage your children to get outside and be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Take them to a park or arrange meetups with friends where they can play together. If it’s cold or gloomy outside, encourage fun indoor activities that keep them moving throughout the day.
Eat a healthy diet. If you have can, consider packing healthy lunches for your kiddos instead of sending them to school with processed foods. Leafy greens, whole grains, and delicious fruits are all good ways to encourage your children to eat healthier. If you have a picky eater or two, consider getting these veggie cutters from Amazon to cut food into fun shapes for your children to enjoy.
Talk to your pediatrician. If you’re concerned about your child’s weight, talk to your pediatrician about other methods to help manage weight gain. But remember, a growing child will have a weight that fluctuates as they age.
If your child is eating healthy, staying active, and getting regular physical checkups with their physician, you’re taking steps in the right direction in the fight against childhood obesity.