Earlier this year, the Ohio Department of Health released new data on childhood obesity in Ohio. The data showed at the end of the 2009-2010 school year, more than 30 percent of third-grade students were considered overweight or obese.
During the 2004-2005 school year, another study was done with third-grade students in Summit County with results showing almost 14 percent of third-grade students were overweight. This time period was also the last time the state conducted a statewide assessment.
Childhood obesity is a rising problem in the United States and while some suggest the government should consider provisions that would have obese children taken away from their parents due to their weight, more emphasis should be put on ways to help children be healthy.
Parents should work to set examples for their children by promoting healthier choices. Although parents may not be to blame in every case, some feel taking children away from their parents is not a solution to the problem.
Unfortunately, childhood obesity makes children more likely to develop weight-related health problems and have higher chances of being overweight going into adulthood. Overweight children are at risk of developing chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease. They are also likely to deal with sadness, stress and low self-esteem.
Issues that may contribute to childhood obesity include children being inactive and poor nutrition choices including consuming too many sugary drinks. It is also possible the child may have an underlying health condition contributing to their weight gain.
Creating Health Communities Program is an initiative by the Ohio Department of Health that provides funding to 16 counties throughout Ohio. The program is designed to address risk factors that may contribute to obesity.
Summit County is one of the 16 counties to receive funding toward Creating Healthy Communities Projects for county residents.
The program reviews risk factors including chronic diseases, use of tobacco, and poor eating habits by understanding how these factors affect adults and children in the community. Intervention plans for Summit County will be used to help different aspects including reviewing the needs of area communities, training for those in the health care sector and ways to promote wellness at worksites and schools.
Intervention plans for schools in Summit County include developing physical activity, nutrition and tobacco use policies that will be adopted by the Board of Education. Other school plans include the development of School Health Teams, Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) training, and sponsorship for early childhood providers that will include healthy living topics for children.
While Ohio has different programs in place around the state, some question whether the state is doing enough to combat the issue. Many of us realize that states may not have the funding necessary to see the progress we expect. We should focus on using state, county and local resources as a guide into creating our own healthy living habits.
No big strides against childhood obesity in Ohio, report shows – Associated Press
2008 Healthy Ohio Communities Profile/Summit County – Ohio Department of Health