Indiana is fatter, the survey says
By Rick Yencer
MUNCIE, IN - The results of F as in Fat are out, showing two thirds of Hoosier adults are just that.
The report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found Indiana move up as more obese than last year, now being the 8th highest overweight with Mississippi winning out as the most obese state in the union. Colorado is the least obese.
Hoosiers had been ranked at 15th most obese last year, but jumped up as bigger while other states took steps to reduce obesity with better nutrition and diet.,
Indiana did virtually nothing at the Legislature to help education and health officials reduce weight. Gov. Mitch Daniels did make it a priority to collect height and weight data with elementary school students although lawmakers did not pass the bill. Lawmakers also talked about promoting calorie menu-labeling, but again did not pass a law.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, obesity and overweight have tremendous impact on the country's health and economy. In 2005, obesity related medical costs totaled $147 billion a year or 10 percent of total national medical spending. in 2011, according to a study in Health Affairs. The bulk of that spending treated obesity related diseases like diabetes.
Ellen Whitt, who directors nutrition and physical activity programs for the Indiana Department of Health, offered some insight into Indiana's fatness. Out of 4.7 million Hoosier adults, about 36 percent are considered overweight and another 27 percent are obese, according to 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data.
That data also shows a quarter of Hoosier adults report no leisure time physical activity in the last month, and only 23 percent report eating fruits and vegetables at least five times a day.
The National Immunization Survey shows that Indiana is not meeting any of the five Health People 2010 goals for breastfeeding based on children born in 2005.
The obesity problem is just as bad with youth with 15 percent of high school youth being overweight with 14 percent obese. And only 18 percent eat fruits and vegetables five or more times a day while only a third drink at least one non-diet soda each day.
Despite the lack of legislative action, the state health department is developing a state obesity prevention plan and has a statewide task force that will encourage nutrition, physical activity and obesity goals and objectives.
And some public schools are taking steps to limit soda, candy and other high calorie foods from the menu and vending machines. That's still not the case on college campuses that find everything from Taco Bell to Pizza Hut in their food courts.
In Delaware County, efforts have been made to develop programs for good institution and physical activity funded by grants through the Delaware County Health Department. There have been no local legislative initiatives to limit soda or high calorie foods.
Lynnetta Harley, county health educator and environmental health specialist said healthy living initiatives were carried out by schools, churches and other groups like the YMCA to reduce obesity with $30,000 to fund those programs in recent years. There also have been charity walks and runs to raise money for those same initiatives.
The F as it Fat report will be posted on the TFAH's website at www.healthyamericans.org. The non-profit group works to protect community health and make disease prevention a national priority.