The Ohio Department Health (ODH) Office of Healthy Ohio (OHO) released the Ohio Obesity Prevention Plan, a multi-faceted plan to fight the causes and effects of obesity and overweight, which impact 35.6 percent of Ohio youth ages 10 to 17 and nearly two-thirds of Ohio adults.

"The status quo is unacceptable," said ODH Director Alvin D. Jackson, M.D. "Good nutrition and physical activity are key elements in achieving optimal health and this plan will help us affect positive change over the next five years and beyond."

The plan, given to Gov. Ted Strickland on Tuesday, has three goals: improve physical activity options and opportunities; improve nutrition and access to healthy food choices and limit access to unhealthy food and beverage choices; and improve the coordination of policy and resources directed to the prevention and reduction of obesity especially among those populations most at risk. It seeks to impact Ohioans where they live: in schools and child care settings; communities and the built environment; individuals and families; health care; worksites; and government.

Ohio is already the 17th-heaviest state in the country and experts believe if current trends continue, today's youth will live shorter lives than their parents. Consider the following:

- Type 2 diabetes - once known as adult-onset diabetes - is now often diagnosed in children.
- Nearly 17 percent of Ohio third graders are obese and another 18 percent are overweight.
- Sixty percent of overweight children have at least one cardiovascular risk factor such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Based on current overweight and obesity trends, one-third of children today will develop diabetes over their lifetime.

"This plan is a road map to use in our efforts to make Ohio the state of living well," Jackson said. "It took us a long time to get to this unhealthy state, and it will take time and effort to reverse these troubling trends. Doing nothing is not an option."

The plan is available on the OHO Web site at healthyohioprogram.

Ohio Department of Health

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