Childhood Obesity

Like adults, overweight children are at risk for many diseases once only seen in older populations, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, arthritis and some forms of cancer.

Childhood Obesity

In Ohio, one in three children is obese by the age of eight. Like adults, overweight children are at risk for many diseases once only seen in older populations, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, arthritis and some forms of cancer. Recent data from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) shows children living in Appalachian counties are significantly more overweight or obese than children living in other areas of Ohio.

Adena Health System is focused on the health and future of our region’s children and families. Our team of pediatricians and dieticians can help families adopt healthy eating and exercise habits, which are intended to make a positive, lifelong impact on the health of our children.

To help motivate and educate children and families, Adena dieticians lead the Family Fit program. Family Fit offers families the tools and resources they need to help their children gain a healthier outlook and lower risks for chronic, weight-related disease.

Family Fit classes are held in partnership with the YMCA of Ross County, and offered Wednesday evenings from 6 – 8:00 p.m. The family-focused weight management program is open to families with kids from ages six to 14, offering nutrition education, family cooking meal planning and cooking demonstrations, family activities and lifestyle counseling.

The eight-week program costs $50 per family, which includes all materials and a three-month family membership to the YMCA of Ross County. For more information about Family Fit or to register for the next session, call (740) 779-7520. If you would like to make an appointment for your child with one of Adena’s pediatricians, call (740) 779-4300 or request an appointment online.

Help Your Child Make Smart Lunch Choices

Your child will likely have to make food choices when eating at school. Sometimes this means they will have access to processed food, a la carte items or vending machine food, which can contain “empty calories.” Here's what you can do to help your children choose a healthy lunch when they're buying at school:

    1. Feed them breakfast. If their stomachs are growling in homeroom, they'll be more likely to load up at the vending machine. If you don't have time to feed them a home-cooked breakfast, try natural peanut butter on a whole wheat bagel and an apple, or a smoothie with soymilk, frozen bananas and peanut butter.
    2. Discuss the cafeteria menu with your child, preferably before you're rushing out the door in the morning. You can help them learn which options are healthier, and talk about the importance of fruits and vegetables. If they don't like what's on the menu, then they'll have time to pack instead.
    3. Talk to your child about vending machine, a la carte, and other school lunch choices. Help them to realize that it's ok to like candy and fast food, but that doesn't mean they should be an everyday treat.
    4. If you are unhappy with your child's school menu options, talk to the school lunch coordinator. Many cafeteria menu makeovers started with just one parent.

If you'd like more information about healthy lunch activism, visit

Obesity problem worsening here and across the nation

In our community and across the nation, obesity is a community health concern

Ohio is ranked as the 10th heaviest state in the U.S. The percentage of Ohioans who are obese has been greater than the national percentage since 1997. New information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the percentage of Ohioans who fall under the obese category (BMI of 30 and higher) continues to grow. Ross County had the greatest percentage increase from 2005-2007.

The new information is demonstrated on a series of maps that show the growing prevalence of obesity on the nation’s population from 1985 through 2010. You can see on the 1985 map, the highest obesity levels for state populations were in the 10% -15% range. The 2010 map shows no state reporting obesity levels lower than 20%.

To view the interactive maps throughout the 1985-2010 study, visit