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Bold New Obesity Initiative May Lack Funding

Almost two thirds of adults in Indiana are overweight or obese, but the state budget doesn't include the funds to tackle this public health issue.

Helping Heavy Hoosiers

The Indiana Department of Health has just released a new plan to reduce obesity, but finding the money to fund it could be an obstacle.

The Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative is a ten year program that targets the root causes of obesity. It was kick-started with a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2008, recognizing the growing number of overweight Hoosiers and the health risks they face.

Almost two thirds of adults, about one fourth of high school students, and nearly one third of children ages 10-17 are overweight or obese in Indiana.

Goals And Obstacles

The plan lays out a number of general goals, including increasing access to healthy foods, encouraging physical activity, and increasing state and local partnerships to reach more of the population. It also includes concrete targets such as decreasing the number of obese adults from 30% to 25% of the population by 2020.

Other goals for 2020 include:

  • Decreasing high school students who drink a can of soda daily from 30% to 22%
  • Increasing percentage of breastfeeding mothers from 71% to 75%
  • Increasing high school students who get recommended amount of daily physical activity from 41% to 55%
  • Increasing adults who eat recommended amount of fruits and vegetables from 21% to 24%

The CDC grant paid for a new website designed to market the initiative and provide online resources, but the state budget doesn’t include money dedicated to carrying out the plan.

State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin said his department will apply for other federal grants to move parts of the initiative forward but will rely on most of the resources coming from local communities.

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Sarah Kaiser

Sarah Kaiser is a student-turned-townie living in Bloomington, Indiana. A social media specialist at Solution Tree, she spends her days tweeting and her nights foraging at the local summer market for new tastes and flavors. And occasionally rocking out on the ukulele.

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