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State Health Officials Turn Attention to Kids to Combat Obesity

Joyce Russell/IPR
Iowa Department of Public Health Director Gerd Clabaugh

A new initiative to combat childhood obesity in Iowa will get underway next month as nearly one-third of Iowa 10 to 17- year- olds remain overweight or obese.      

Bending the curve is hard. -IDPH Dir. Gerd Clabaugh

Communities in Mills, Dubuque, Henry, and Fayette Counties will receive $18,000 grants to promote the program known as “5210-Healthy Choices Count.”

“This is the first statewide effort to provide consistent messaging and programming regarding the subject of childhood obesity,” said Iowa Department of Public Health Director Gerd Clabaugh.

“5210-Healthy Choices Count” encourages five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, at least one hour of physical activity, and zero or reduced sugary drinks.   

Adult rates of obesity in the state have stalled at between 30 and 32 percent for the last five years.    

“Bending the curve is hard,” Gerhard said.  “But if we can teach kids  how to create healthy habits, how to limit their screen  time,  the importance of eating five fruits and vegetables every day, this is where we get long-term return on the investment of effort.”

5210 is a nationally-recognized childhood obesity prevention program.   The campaign will include social media, advertising, website content, and community commitments.