By ANDY MCCAMMON
The percentage of obese adults in Indiana has risen from 46 percent in 1990 to 62 percent in 2004. Nearly 30 percent of 6 to 19-year-olds in the state are obese. In short, Indiana is really letting itself go.
Gov. Mitch Daniels hosted the INShape Indiana Obesity Prevention Summit in Indianapolis on Oct. 27. The initiative is intended to raise awareness of public health issues in the state and stimulate improvement in schools, homes and workplaces. Clay County Community Health Educator Jennifer Martin attended the summit, and said she is hopeful the program will succeed in Clay County.
Martin said the intent of the program is to effect incremental changes in the lifestyles of Indiana residents.
"Immediate changes are not going to be seen," she said. "The main thing to remember is small changes over time can make a big difference."
In his inaugural address in January of 2005, Daniels emphasized the importance of small, individual efforts to the overall health of the state.
"Every citizen who stops smoking or loses a few pounds, or starts managing his chronic disease with real diligence, is caulking a crack for the benefit of us all," he said.
Visitors to the INShape Indiana website can register to participate in program, logging their progress every two weeks in a "health profile." The data recorded will be used to track the success of the initiative.
Chad Zaucha, Executive Director of the Brazil YMCA, will work with Martin to implement the initiative in the Clay County area. Increasing physical activity, he said, is just as important as counting calories.
"People need to get up and get moving," he said. "Set goals that are reachable. If you're walking zero minutes a day, try to walk three minutes a day."
Martin said she hopes to provide county residents with programs that are both effective and enjoyable.
"We've discussed cook-offs, family fun days," she said. "We're trying to plan some family-oriented, fun things."
Martin and Zaucha are currently assembling a collaboration team, which would determine ways to implement INShape Indiana in Clay County. County residents interested in participating can contact Martin at (812)448-9019.
"We're trying to figure out simple ways to get the community healthy, to adopt healthy lifestyles," she said.
For more information, log onto the INShape Indiana Web site at