TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Experts say "Hoosiers are heavy" but a Wabash Valley program could help.
According to Indiana Youth Institute CEO Tami Silverman, research shows Indiana has one of the highest rates of adult obesity and Hoosier kids are weighing in high, too. Silverman says one in three kids between the ages of ten and seventeen are overweight. The rate of childhood obesity is higher in Indiana than each neighboring state.
Silverman says, "As a result, many children are now developing chronic health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis and sleep apnea. Obese children are also at higher risk for low self-esteem, negative body images and depression. These physical and mental health problems can also lead to increased absenteeism and decreased educational attainment."
Experts say there are several contributing factors and one is food insecurity. Some people simply do not have access to affordable, healthy food.
John Morris is a regular shopper at the United Way Mobile Market in Montezuma, Indiana.
Morris says, "It is a food desert area. We need options that's for sure."
Montezuma is considered what experts call a food desert. There is little access to fresh produce. That's why the Wabash Valley United Way brings it's Mobile Market to town each Monday afternoon.
Shoppers can buy items like what would be found in a typical grocery store and pay with cash or card, including SNAP.
Abby Desboro is the Wabash Valley United Way Marketing and Communication Director. She explains food insecurity contributes to the greater obesity problem.
Desboro says, "If you just think about it, I mean, it's one thing to get in your car and drive somewhere but if you have to get on multiple buses to get to the grocery store and then you can only take what you can carry in your two hands, that can be really difficult for some families so they'll get whatever can go the farthest for them."
The Mobile Market makes stops across the Valley to help people who would have a difficult time accessing healthy food otherwise.
Shoppers like Morris say the service has been helpful.
Morris says, "There are not a lot of opportunities for people to be able to shop for produce in the area and we're just always looking for options and this has been a good one."
To see the Mobile Market schedule, click here.
There are more programs out there to keep Hoosiers get healthy. You can call 2-1-1 for help finding programs right for you.