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New Data Shows Utah Has Lowest Youth Obesity Rate In Nation

Boy holds apple and donut: Utah has the lowest youth obesity rate in the nation, according to new data.
CHOC Children's Org.
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Utah has the lowest youth obesity rate in the nation, according to new data released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The data comes from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

“It’s incredibly encouraging to see a state like Utah approach this incredibly difficult challenge from so many angles and we know that in order to help all kids grow up at a healthy weight, we have to take a really comprehensive approach,” said Jamie Bessell, a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who focuses childhood obesity prevention work.

“Congratulations, I think really really exciting,” she said. “Certainly Utah has been doing a lot to help all kids grow up at a healthy weight.”

Some of those things Utah has been doing to address youth obesity include encouraging schools to get kids more active and healthy and provide healthier snacks in vending machines. Bessell said these things could have led to Utah’s lower rate in youth obesity.

“Preventing obesity from an early age is much easier than reversing it down the road,” she said. “The new data shows that one in six young people has obesity. And that puts them at greater risk for conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure.”

While Utah provides a good example for the rest of the nation, Bessell said there is still work to be done to address obesity rates nationwide.

“Rates are still far too high across the board and they put our kids at great risk for their health and wellbeing and I think our health and wellbeing as a nation,” Bessell said.