TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, obesity rates for kids ages 10 to 17 rose three percent between 2019 and 2020. This now puts the national childhood obesity rate at more than 16-percent.
While the Covid-19 pandemic did play a large role in this increase, health officials say it's not the only reason for the rise.
"We know that childhood obesity is a symptom of the larger challenges that families face in their communities. It's really not a huge surprise that we are seeing an exacerbation in the rates," says Jamie Bussel, the RWJF Program Officer.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has decided to change the way they look at what causes obesity.
"We historically had really focused on healthy eating and physical activity. Those are really important but as important is whether or not that child has a safe place to call home," said Bussel.
The foundation hopes this change will help them prevent any further rise in obesity rates.