Reducing Obesity in Ohio
Nationally, Ohio is the 38th worst state in terms of obesity among its residents. About 33 percent of Ohio adults are overweight and 30 percent are obese.
Obesity’s impact on Ohio children is even more troubling. So many children are overweight or obese that today’s children may be the first generation not to live as long as their parents. About 30 percent of high-school students are overweight or obese, more than 25 percent of third-grade students are overweight or obese; and more than 28 percent of low-income children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese.
ODH is working with its partners to reduce these numbers, particularly with regard to childhood obesity, by enhancing the quality of nutrition and physical activity in daycare centers, schools and communities throughout the state. Evidence shows that one of the best ways to fight obesity is to preventing it in those who are not yet overweight, specifically in the youngest age groups (birth to 5 years) as that is when most eating and exercise habits are being developed.
This work is being done through a program called Creating Healthy Communities (CHC). Creating Healthy Communities is funded through the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention’s Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant. The CHC Program helps 16 counties (see map below) adopt policies,
change systems and improve environments to prevent obesity and chronic diseases. Their work is done in schools, worksites and communities to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and prevent tobacco use.
In addition to this program, ODH's Bureau of Healthy Ohio received a $1 million grant supported by Governor Kasich’s Office of Health Transformation. This funding is being used to develop a comprehensive statewide health and wellness approach to prevent childhood obesity for children from birth to 5 years. This program is using three statewide approaches:
1) Increase the number of early childhood education (ECE) centers with policies on nutrition and physical activity
2) Create a multi-sectorial approach engaging parents of children 0 – 5 yrs in evidence-based health and wellness education materials through home visits
3) Enhance the Ounce of Prevention materials and train pediatricians on delivering evidence-based messages during well-child visits, to include nutrition /physical activity/ and parenting information.
For more information on how ODH is working to reduce obesity in Ohio, please visit:
Creating Healthy Communities