A new study finds Nebraska’s kids are becoming just as sedentary and chunky as their parents.
The report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds almost 30% of Nebraska children between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese.
It follows a report earlier this month that found 32% of Nebraska adults in that category.
Foundation program officer Jasmine Hall-Ratliff says we continue preach about the virtues of diet and exercise.
“But in a lot of neighborhoods and communities, that’s difficult to do because there aren’t grocery stores available or the schools don’t have good policies for physical activity while kids are in school,” Hall-Ratliff says, “or workplaces have not implemented policies and practices that encourage their employees to be physically active during the work day.”
The report also found almost 17% of young Nebraska children, between the ages of two and four years, were overweight or obese.
There’s no “silver bullet” solution to bringing the obesity numbers down, she says, and that’s unfortunate. Parents are a tremendous influence on their children in many ways, so given the number of obese Nebraska adults, she says it’s little surprise so many children are shaping up the same way.
“It’s what’s being served and sold in schools, what kind of physical activity policies are in place in schools,” Hall-Ratliff says. “It’s also the practice of eating healthfully and being physically active and there have often been recommendations that parents and kids be active together, walk outside together, so that the parents can model healthy behavior.”
The obesity report for young children ranks Nebraska the 5th worst state in the nation, a slight drop from previous years, while the rankings for middle and high schoolers place Nebraska 33rd, which is holding steady. As for adults, Nebraska is the 13th most obese state, a rate that’s also holding steady.