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One in five youngsters in central Indiana are overweight, according to IU researchers



Indianapolis, Indiana – According to a recent Indiana University research, childhood obesity rates in central Indiana are still rising.

Researchers at the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis have found that one in five children in central Indiana between the ages of two and 19 are obese.

Researchers examined data from January 1, 2014, through December 31, 2022, and discovered a rise in childhood obesity in central Indiana:

• 32% in females
• 39% in males
• 69% for Hispanics
• 66% for Asians
• 96% in 2- to 5-year-olds
• 40% in 6- to 11-year-olds
• 26% in 12- to 19-year-olds

Over half of this increase occurred during the epidemic years of 2020 to 2022. In all, it was discovered that childhood obesity had increased by about 36% within this time frame.

In central Indiana, Marion County had the highest rates of childhood obesity.

“There is not one single factor that contributes to childhood obesity,” said Thomas Duszynski, assistant professor at the Fairbanks School. “Too many Hoosiers face significant barriers to health. This report lays the groundwork for future action to address the barriers that prevent our neighbors from being healthy and help kids and families in central Indiana achieve better health.”

Numerous hospitals in the counties of Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, Marion, Hancock, Morgan, Johnson, and Shelby provided data for the study. The project was financed by Jump IN for Healthy Kids.

According to Julie Burns, CEO of Jump IN, the group can now use this data to address health disparities in central Indiana more successfully.

“Having this data is a huge win for public health,” said Duszynski. “We can’t begin to work on prevention and treatment until we understand the prevalence of an issue. And now, central Indiana has almost a decade of data that will create a baseline for health care providers and children’s health partners to track and identify obesity rates.”


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