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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, November 09, 2017 1:00 am

Indiana Voices

A needed focus on childhood obesity

The news hasn't been getting any better when it comes to the health of Hoosier children. The latest comes from the National Survey of Children's Health that shows more than a third of Indiana youth ages 10-17 are overweight or obese, and that Indiana has the ninth-highest youth obesity rate in the United States.

Data provided from the Indiana Youth Institute say, nationally, 12.2 percent of youth ages 12-17 do not participate in vigorous physical activity, defined as being active for 60 minutes or longer, during the course of a week. And nearly half of Indiana high school students report that they are trying to lose weight, according to an Indiana Youth Risk Behavior Survey two years ago.

When bad health habits are developed in youth, they're likely to be carried into adulthood.

The problem requires solutions that recognize the role of lifestyle changes. Addressing childhood obesity will require a multifaceted approach.

Parents must become more informed about exercise and nutrition, and healthy foods must be made more accessible.

Engaging the public on the topic is no small task, and the goal of ending childhood obesity is daunting. But a health crisis that threatens the future of children and adults throughout Indiana requires significant effort.

– South Bend Tribune