Monday, November 29, 2010

Wyoming Youth Obesity Rate Remains Low Despite Lack of Statewide Initatives

Although Wyoming suffers from the same high adult obesity rates that plague the rest of the country, children (and girls in particular) seem to have escaped this epidemic for the time being. Currently, Wyoming ranks 2nd lowest nationally for childhood obesity (just behind Oregon) and just 5.5% of Wyoming girls are obese. This is not only the lowest rate in the country, but it also shows a clear decrease from the 7.5% female youth obesity rate in 2003.

Wyoming is also the closest state to reaching the childhood obesity goal of 5% set by the federal Healthy People 2010 initiative. Especially exciting is evidence that Wyoming middle and high school students are spending fewer hours in front of the television and more time involved in physical activity than they did a few years ago, according to the state’s youth risk behavior study.

Wyoming's obesity rate among youth might be the second lowest in the country, however, concerns remain for the future since there are no statewide bans against selling soda and candy in school vending machines. Instead, each district institutes its own rules on wellness policies required by the National School Lunch Program. For example, schools in District 1 do not allow vending or pop machines to be turned on during the school day, but they can be turned on before and after school, providing access to sugary snacks and beverages before classes start. At present, 15 schools in district 1 and four schools in district 2 get food from the federal Fresh Fruits and Vegetables grants program. They are among 90 Wyoming low-income schools whose students get an additional daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, several school districts are working to reduce the fat content of all school meals.
Although Wyoming is clearly proud of its low childhood obesity rate, there is still a great deal of work to be done – especially among adults! Parents can learn from their children and try to adopt the healthier habits Wyoming kids and teens are slowly incorporating into their lives.

1 comment:

Jeremiah Gentry said...
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