Guest Blogger: Grace Henscheid, Grassroots Advocacy Director
In early September the State of Obesity Report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust of America’s Health was released and it is clear there is still much work to be done in our fight against obesity.
While there are many statistics in the report one of the numbers that stood out to us was that Idaho is one of six states where obesity rates are still on the rise.
Idaho’s obesity rate in 2013 was 29.6% up from 21.8% in 2003. There are many factors that contribute to this increased number but the American Heart Association is determined to help every state control and improve these numbers.
In order to lower these numbers we need to build communities that encourage healthy eating and active lifestyles. One of the programs the American Heart Association offers for free to people that are trying to improve their health is the “Life’s Simple 7” program. This program helps participants to manage heart risk by understanding the importance of getting active, controlling cholesterol, eating better, managing blood pressure, losing weight, reducing blood sugar and stopping smoking.
In addition to this program, the AHA is working in our communities to educate people about their risk factors and how they can take personal control over their health.
We are working to build healthier communities by passing state and local legislation. In the 2015 legislative session we will try again to pass minimum time requirements for physical education in our K-12 schools. We believe that by establishing physical activity early in life it will help children transition into active adults; one of the many factors in maintaining a healthy adult lifestyle.
While the news about Idaho’s obesity rate might be discouraging we aren’t giving up on turning around this dangerous trend. With help from advocates like you we believe it is a battle we can win.