Obesity rates are so high in some eastern Iowa schools, health officials are turning to the media to sound the alarm.
Here's Health Plus:
The Black Hawk County Health Department director wants you to know obesity rates are high in local schools... and rising.
"Unsupervised time engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as not getting the physical activity that they should be getting or not eating as healthfully as they should be," cites Bruce Meisinger, Black Hawk County Health Department Director.
Thanks to a school nurse partnership with Waterloo Community Schools, health officials are able to collect specific student data to come up with the numbers.
Perhaps the most alarming trend, Meisinger says a decade ago the overweight or obese rate among Waterloo students was thirty-five percent... But now it's up to forty-five percent.
"Black Hawk County Health Department in conjunction with other community health partners have joined together to form a coalition of 5-2-1-0. It's actually Cedar Valley 5210 centered around the idea that children should be getting at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day, be limiting screen time to no more than two hours outside the school setting, that they should be engaging in at least one hour of physical activity each day and be consuming zero sugar beverages," said Meisinger.
Among the findings, fifty-five percent of African-American girls in the Waterloo schools fall in the overweight or obese group.
Meisinger says overweight children are not only at an increased risk for health problems like Type 2 diabetes, they will be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
You're invited to a special event Saturday, Sept. 17 in Waterloo at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.
From eleven in the morning until one in the afternoon a free picnic and free health screenings are happening during what's called "Building Hope".
Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes will be there, too!
It's all sponsored by the food bank, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and Tyson Fresh Meats.